The start of the 2013 season has largely been dominated by supreme pitching performances. Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish came one out away from a perfect game, and several aces opened their teams’ respective years with 7 or 8 innings of shutout work while piling up strikeouts.
Yesterday it was the hitters’ turn to shine, as four different teams collected walk-off wins. Here is a brief recap of those games.
Cardinals 9 – Diamondbacks 10
It took 16 innings, lasted 5 hours and 32 minutes, and forced both managers to empty their benches and bullpens before Cliff Pennington singled up the middle to plate the game-winning run. Wednesday’s 16-inning affair was the longest in Chase Field history, and gave Arizona a 2-3 opening series win against a talented St. Louis club.
Making his first start since being struck in the head by a line drive and undergoing brain surgery, Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy labored through five-plus innings giving up six runs on nine hits. He was picked up by homers from Gerardo Parra, Martin Prado and Paul Goldschmidt – and by the incredible relief effort of Josh Collmenter.
Collmenter pitched the final five innings of the game just 24 hours after tossing 1.2 innings on Tuesday. He gave up a run in the 12th, but Arizona rallied to re-tie the contest in the bottom half of that inning, allowing for Pennington’s 16th-inning heroics.
Angels 4 – Reds 5
Joey Votto made his first hit of the season really count last night. With the game knotted at 4 and Shin-Soo Choo standing on second, the Reds first baseman hit a bottom-of-the-ninth single that have Cincinnati its first win of the 2013 season.
The Reds built an early 4-0 lead exclamated by Brandon Phillips’ three-run home run. The Angels rallied, cutting the lead to one run by the eighth inning before scrapping together an unearned, game-tying run off set-up man Jonathan Broxton in the eighth.
Reliever Scott Downs plunked Choo to start the ninth, and manager Dusty Baker elected to sacrifice bunt Choo into scoring position. The move brought Votto to the plate with first base open. L.A. elected not to intentionally walk Votto, and he made them pay on the first pitch he saw with the game-winning hit.
Orioles 7 – Rays 8
Back and forth, back and forth. The Orioles-Rays game was a real see saw affair. The O’s jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Rays stormed back to seize control and hand the ball off to closer Fernando Rodney with a one-run, 7-6 cushion.
Rodney, who converted 48 of 50 saves last season, couldn’t nail down the win on Wednesday. He walked Nolan Reimold to start the ninth, and Brian Roberts doubled to drive Reimold in, tying the game at seven apiece.
That set the stage for the Rays’ Matt Joyce, who answered the bell by hammering a 3-1 offering from Tommy Hunter, sending the ball soaring into the right-field stands and bringing the game home for Tampa Bay with a walk-off homer.
Tigers 2 – Twins 3
Eduardo Escobar was called upon to serve as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, but he brought a whole lot more to the table for the Twins on Wednesday.
With Minnesota trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Escobar laced a double off reliever Phil Coke, scoring Jamey Carroll and Brian Dozier to give the Twins their first win of the season.