All the Wild Videos, Images of MLB's 'Walk-off Week'

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

All the Wild Videos, Images of MLB's 'Walk-off Week'

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    More than once in a baseball fan's life, he or she meets someone who isn't a fan of America's pastime for one reason and one reason alone: The game is too boring to watch.

    The next time that happens, may I suggest that you refer those folks to the past "week" of major league action, one that saw 17 games be decided by walk-off hits.

    Not all of them were mammoth home runs, as we've come to expect when we hear the term "walk-off," but each got the job done, sending one team to victory and another home in agony.

    I put "week" in quotation marks because I'm stretching the definition: Instead of your normal seven-day week, we're going with eight days of action. But as you'll see, there's a very good reason for making that one-time change.

    Just click that orange box below to relive the magic.

July 28: Colby Rasmus (Toronto Blue Jays)

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    After popping out to end the seventh inning with runners on the corners and the game tied at one, Colby Rasmus was looking for redemption when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth to face Houston's Wesley Wright.

    With Emilio Bonifacio on second base and Edwin Encarnacion on first, Rasmus found it.

    He hit a bouncer up the middle that evaded Wright's glove and made its way into center field, allowing the speedy Bonifacio to score the game's winning run as Toronto took three our of four from Houston.


July 28: Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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    After a torrid, historic June, Yasiel Puig struggled to repeat his June success as opposing pitchers learned how to get him out and prevent him from producing runs.

    But even the best-laid plans are no match for the Cuban sensation.

    With the July 28 game between Cincinnati and Los Angeles still scoreless in the bottom of the 11th inning, Puig ended it all with one swing, a mammoth 424-foot shot off of Reds reliever Curtis Partch that gave the Dodgers the 1-0 victory and Puig the first walk-off hit of his young career.

    Of course, Puig did it with his usual flare, raising his hands in victory as soon as the ball left his bat and sliding into home plate, surrounded by a mass of Dodgers who were careful not to step on their overzealous teammate.

July 28: Alfonso Soriano (New York Yankees)

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    After going 0-for-8 in his first two games back in a Yankees uniform, Alfonso Soriano sure didn't look like the right-handed run producer that the Yankees thought they had acquired from the Chicago Cubs.

    That all changed against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 28, when Soriano had a performance that was reminiscent of the first five years of his career that he spent in pinstripes.

    He went deep in the bottom of the third inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead, the first time in nearly a decade that Soriano and Derek Jeter had hit a home run in the same game. And by the time he stepped to the plate against Tampa Bay's Jake McGee in the bottom of the ninth, Soriano was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI.

    With Brett Gardner on second base and Jeter on first, Soriano laced a single up the middle off of McGee that scored Gardner, giving the Yankees a badly needed 6-5 win over their divisional foes.

July 29: Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves)

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    Andrelton Simmons hasn't had the kind of sophomore season that the Atlanta Braves were hoping for, as the 23-year-old shortstop had mustered only a .245/.283/.363 slash line with 11 home runs and 38 RBI heading into Tuesday's game against the Colorado Rockies.

    But Simmons made everyone at Turner Field forget about his struggles up to that point, for one night at least, ripping a shot deep into the left-center field gap off of Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona. It allowed Dan Uggla to score from first base, and by the time Simmons stopped at third, the Braves had a 2-1 victory.

    Simmons not only became the first player to ever beat the Rockies with a walk-off triple, he also became the first Brave to accomplish the feat since Harry Hanebrink in 1953, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

July 29: Jason Giambi (Cleveland Indians)

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    Jason Giambi has a message for everyone (including yours truly) who believed that the 42-year-old had nothing left in the tank.

    You don't know jack.

    But the Giambino does know jack, and that's exactly what he did on Monday night, jacking a pinch-hit, walk-off blast off of Chicago's Ramon Troncoso to give the Indians a 2-1 victory over their divisional foe.

    Giambi's 424-foot blast, his seventh of the season, made him the oldest player to ever hit a walk-off home run, surpassing Hank Aaron, who was 42 days younger than Giambi when he accomplished the feat back in 1976.


July 29: Geovany Soto (Texas Rangers)

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    Playing time for Geovany Soto has been sparse this season, with A.J. Pierzynski handling the bulk of the catching duties in Texas, so the 30-year-old backup needs to make the most of the opportunities that he gets.

    Soto did just that against the Los Angeles Angels on July 29.

    After watching Pierzynski tie the game with a solo shot to lead off the Rangers' half of the ninth inning, Soto dug in against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri with two outs and nobody on.

    The veteran backstop smacked the ball down the left field line, where it stayed just to the right of the foul pole for a 366-foot walk-off home run—a blast that we'll soon see was the beginning of a remarkable run deep in the heart of Texas.

July 30: Alex Presley (Pittsburgh Pirates)

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    Pittsburgh and St. Louis have been locked in a heated battle for National League Central supremacy this season, and there was a lot riding on the line when the two teams met up on Tuesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh for a day-night doubleheader.

    If there wasn't enough drama and pressure on both teams to perform already, the opening game went into extra innings and found Alex Presley, who has spent the bulk of his season in the minor leagues, stepping to the plate against Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist with two out and runners on first and second.

    Presley hit a shot back up the middle that deflected off of Siegrist's glove, past a diving Pete Kozma at shortstop and into left field, allowing Russell Martin to score from second base and giving the Bucs a 2-1 win.

July 30: Mark Ellis (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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    Like the Dodgers, Mark Ellis has been on fire since the All-Star break, hitting .409 with a .908 OPS in 13 second-half games, reaching base in all but one of those contests.

    None of his hits has been bigger than his two-out, walk-off RBI single against Yankees reliever Sean Kelley on Tuesday night, one that sailed just over the glove of a leaping Derek Jeter and scored Andre Ethier from second base to break a 1-1 tie with the winning run.

    Not only did Ellis' hit give the Dodgers their first regular-season walk-off victory against the Yankees, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN), but Ellis joined some impressive company in Dodgers history.

    Only Cookie Lavagetto and Jackie Robinson had previously hit walk-off hits against New York, both coming in the World Series while the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.

    Lavagetto hit a pinch-hit, walk-off two-run double in Game 4 of the 1947 Fall Classic, while Robinson hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 of the 1956 Series. The latter came one day after Don Larsen tossed the only perfect game in World Series history.

July 30: Leonys Martin (Texas Rangers)

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    One night after watching Geovany Soto beat the Los Angeles Angels with a walk-off home run, Texas center fielder Leonys Martin did the same thing, only in more spectacular fashion.

    With one out in the bottom of the tenth inning and runners on the corners, Martin only needed to get the ball over the heads of a drawn-in infield to win the game for the Rangers.

    Instead, he drove the fourth pitch that he saw from Angels reliever Daniel Stange 357 feet down the left field line, depositing the ball in nearly the same spot that Soto did the night before for a three-run, walk-off home run to give the Rangers a 14-11 extra-innings victory.

    After the game, Martin told reporters that he saw this coming"This the biggest moment in my whole career so far. Last night, I had a dream like that."

    Sometimes, dreams really do come true.

July 31: Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers)

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    You can be sure that the Los Angeles Angels are in no rush to return to The Ballpark at Arlington after being swept by Texas, courtesy of three walk-off home runs.

    Adrian Beltre was the hero for the Rangers on Wednesday night, hitting a towering 413-foot blast off of Angels reliever Michael Kohn to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, winning the game for Texas by the score of 2-1.

    Beltre's heroics marked the first time in franchise history that the Rangers won three consecutive games via walk-off hits, a feat equaled by only four other teams in baseball history, last accomplished by the Detroit Tigers in 2004.

July 31: Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)

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    Carlos Santana nearly didn't get a chance to play the role of hero for the Indians on Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

    After Chicago scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 5-3 lead, it looked as if the Indians' six-game winning streak was about to come to an end.

    But Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis put two runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning with sacrifice flies, and Chris Perez worked a scoreless top of the 10th to give Santana that chance.

    Santana got a hold of a 3-2 fastball from Dylan Axelrod and deposited the ball 392 feet away in the right field seats for the third walk-off home run of his career, sending the Indians to their seventh consecutive victory and second walk-off win over the White Sox in three days. 

July 31: Stephen Drew (Boston Red Sox)

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    Do you think Stephen Drew felt some pressure when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 15th inning against Seattle's Lucas Luetge on Wednesday night?

    There were two outs, the bases were loaded and Tampa Bay had lost, meaning that a win would put Boston back into first place in the American League East.

    All Drew needed to do was get on base, and he did just that with a line-drive single down the right field line to score Dustin Pedroia from third base and give Boston a 5-4 victory.

August 1: Daniel Nava (Boston Red Sox)

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    When Boston's Daniel Nava drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth inning against Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen, the Red Sox were staring at a five-run deficit. Nava getting another at-bat in the game wasn't a thought that anyone let creep into their minds.

    Yet that's exactly what happened, as Boston kept chipping away at Seattle's lead. And after batting around, Nava stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, the game tied, one out and the Mariners on their third pitcher of the inning.

    Nava laced a line-drive single to center field off of Yoervis Medina, allowing Dustin Pedroia to score the game-winning run for the second straight night and sending Boston to its second-consecutive walk-off victory, the team's 11th of the season at Fenway Park.

August 2: Brian Dozier (Minnesota Twins)

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    This past Friday night, Brian Dozier put the Minnesota Twins on his back, ensuring that the team would not lose its fifth consecutive game by coming through in the clutch not once, but twice.

    With runners on the corners, one out and the Houston Astros leading by a score of 3-2, Dozier's ninth-inning single off of Chia-Jen Lo sent the game into extra innings. 

    Against Dallas Keuchel in the bottom of the 13th inning with runners on first and second, Dozier's one-out single to right field scored Clete Thomas from second base, sending the Twins to an extra-inning, walk-off victory.

August 2: Eric Young Jr. (New York Mets)

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    Eric Young Jr. had last hit a major league home run as a member of the Colorado Rockies on May 14, so nobody viewed the 28-year-old utility player as a threat to end the August 2 matchup between the Kansas City Royals and his new team, the New York Mets.

    With two outs, Omar Quintanilla on first base and the game tied at two in the bottom of the 11th inning, Young Jr. did just that, sending Luis Mendoza's offering 382 feet into the right field stands for a walk-off, two-run home run, giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

    The son of 15-year major league veteran Eric Young, Junior's blast was the first walk-off home run of his career, tying his father's career total and realizing a life-long dream for any professional ballplayer: to take a pie to the face during the postgame interview.


August 3: Wil Myers (Tampa Bay Rays)

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    Wil Myers has been as good as advertised since Tampa Bay promoted him to the big leagues on June 18, hitting over .300 and driving in 30 runs over his first 39 games played.

    It'd be hard to argue that any of those RBI have been as big as the one that the 22-year-old outfielder picked up against the defending World Series champions on August 3.

    With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Myers laced a line drive into left field that soared over Jeff Francoeur's head, scoring Desmond Jennings from third base to give the Rays a 2-1 walk-off victory. The 22-year-old received an on-field shower after the game for his efforts.

    Of Myers' 30 RBI on the season, 10 of them (subscription required) have come with Jennings crossing the plate, more than he's driven in any other player—including himself.



August 4: Torii Hunter (Detroit Tigers)

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    In the midst of a seven-game winning streak, including the first two games of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to give some of his veterans, including 38-year-old Torii Hunter, the day off in the series finale on August 4.

    When the game headed into the 10th inning in a 3-3 tie, Leyland called on Hunter as a defensive replacement for Andy Dirks, something that Hunter told reporters he was prepared for after the game:

    I thought I had a day off, but when you come to the park, you enjoy the first couple innings. Once that fifth inning hits, you just go down to the tunnel and get yourself loose. That's the way you've got to approach it.

    In the bottom of the 12th inning, with one out and Matt Tuiasosopo inserted as a pinch runner for Miguel Cabrera on second base, Hunter stroked a line-drive single to left field, deep enough to score Tuiasosopo for the team's eighth consecutive victory—and eighth walk-off win of the season.