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Game 119

August 18, 2016 – Naquin Completes the Comeback with a Pinch-Hit Walkoff

No, not that Tyler Naquin Walkoff. The White Sox were wrapping up a mid-week series at Progressive Field. The Indians had just activated Danny Salazar from the 15-day DL to start against the Sox’ Carlos Rodon. 

Salazar walked three of the first four batters he faced, then Justin Morneau drove a bases-clearing double into left-center. Morneau was left on base, but the Sox were out to an early 3-0 lead. 

Salazar did not return for the top of the second. Kyle Crockett pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Clevinger took the mound for the top of the third and held the Sox scoreless through the top of the seventh. 

The Tribe started climbing back in the bottom of the fifth when Carlos Santana led off with a double and then was driven in by a Jose Ramirez single. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Roberto Perez slapped a leadoff single into right field. Jason Kipnis bounced one into the stands for a ground rule double that put Perez on third. Francisco Lindor slapped a single into short right field to make the score 3-2 Sox after six. 

After Dan Otero replaced Clevinger in the top of the seventh, JB Shuck bunted Tim Anderson from second to third. Omar Narvaez poked a grounder through the left side of the infield to give the Sox an insurance run. 

Rajai Davis made it a 4-3 game with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh, and Jose Ramirez tied it with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless ninth inning to hold the tie. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Abe Almonte led things off with a double into center field. Terry Francona signaled to Roberto Perez to bunt Almonte over to third. However, Jacob Turner’s first pitch to skipped away from Narvaez behind the plate for a passed ball that put Almonte on third. 

Now in a swing-away situation, Terry Francona decided that he could do better than Roberto Perez, who was hitting .108 at the time. He called on Tyler Naquin as a rare mid-at-bat pinch hitter. 

On Turner’s first pitch to Naquin, he lofted a fly ball to deep center. Almonte was able to tag and score the winning run for a walkoff sacrifice. 

Francona later said, “Tyler Naquin was sitting over there by the bat rack for a couple of days, ready to hit. …We didn’t have to go find him. He was ready, and it showed.”

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Game 98

July 25, 2017 – Two Grand Slams, Including Encarnacion Walkoff in the 11th Inning

Mike Clevinger was pitching against his old team as the Angels came to town for a mid-week series. The Angels were throwing Jesse Chavez. 

Both Clevinger and Chavez threw 1-2-3 innings to start the game, but the Indians offense woke up in the bottom of the second. Edwin Encarnacion laced a double to center field to lead off the inning. Jose Ramirez followed with a line drive double of his own, which drove Encarnacion home. After striking out Carlos Santana on three pitches, Chavez suffered a sudden loss of control. He walked Austin Jackson and Yan Gomes to load the bases. Then he issued a third consecutive walk to Gio Urshella to give the indians their second run. 

With the bases still loaded, and facing a 3-1 count, Bradley Zimmer was not content to take to take pitches. He sent the Chavez pitch over the wall in right center and into the bullpens for his first career grand slam. 

After a pop-out by Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley followed with a home run of his own. Overall in the second, the Tribe sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on four hits. 

The Angels narrowed the lead to three runs in the top of the third, when Kole Calhoun took Clevinger deep with a three-run home run. Luis Valbuena took advantage of an Indians error to drive in Andrelton Simmons for an RBI single. 

The Indians chased Chaves from the game in the bottom of the third, while Clevinger held on until the top of the fifth. After giving up another home run to Luis Valbuena, Terry Francona made the call for Nick Goody and both bullpens were at work. 

In the top of the sixth, Goody gave up a leadoff single to Kaleb Cowart. Yuniel Escobar sent a line drive down the right field line. Cowart scored comfortably, but Escobar got caught in a rundown trying to stretch the hit into a triple and was tagged out at third. 

With the game now tied, the bullpens battled into the bottom of the 11th. The Angels called on reliever Bud Norris. After being held scoreless for eight innings, Bradley Zimmer drew a seven-pitch walk to lead off the inning and then stole second base. Norris could not find his command against Francisco Lindor. On a 3-2 count, Norris’ pitch got away from backup catcher Juan Graterol, allowing Zimmer to take third. 

With no outs and runners at the corners, the Angels elected to intentionally walk Michael Brantley to set up a potential double-play. The Angels shifted into a five-man infield. Edwin Encarnacion stepped in and sent Norris first pitch deep into the Cleveland night for a walkoff grand slam. 

Bradley Zimmer later said, “You could put the whole team on the infield and it’s not going to work. The guy was made for situations like that.” 

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