Tuesday, June 18, 2013

From Shutout to Walk-Off Home Run

It was a very late night for the Mets and Braves at Turner Field on Monday as rain delayed the start of the game until 10:53 p.m. Dillon Gee was brilliant for New York, pitching eight shutout innings of three-hit ball and driving in the game's first run with a seventh-inning single.

He took that 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth looking for a complete-game shutout. Jason Heyward grounded out to start the frame before Justin Upton singled. That set the stage for Freddie Freeman:

It was 1:22 a.m. and just like that, the Braves turned a would-be 1-0 loss into a 2-1 victory. It was the 22nd time since 1945 (and first since 1994) that a starting pitcher took a shutout into the ninth inning only to allow a game-ending home run. Here are the first 21.

# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out RBI WPA Play Description
12 1948-07-27 Pat Seerey CHW WSH Mickey Haefner down 1-0 b9 1-- 2 2 0.90 HR; Appling Scores
28 1952-06-29 Dick Kryhoski SLB DET Virgil Trucks down 2-0 b9 12- 2 3 0.91 HR; Nieman Scores/unER; Garver Scores/unER; Kryhoski Scores/unER
40 1954-05-12 Bobby Hofman NYG CIN Harry Perkowski down 1-0 b9 1-- 1 2 0.79 HR (Deep LF Line); Samford Scores
67 1958-07-29 Sherm Lollar CHW WSH Russ Kemmerer down 1-0 b9 -2- 2 2 0.86 HR; Fox Scores
69 1959-05-15 Bob Nieman BAL DET Don Mossi down 1-0 b9 1-- 0 2 0.68 HR; Boyd Scores
74 1959-09-13 (1) Mickey Mantle NYY CLE Jack Harshman down 1-0 b11 1-- 0 2 0.68 HR; Kubek Scores
108 1963-07-19 Roy Sievers PHI NYM Roger Craig down 1-0 b9 --3 1 2 0.61 HR; Gonzalez Scores
109 1963-07-29 Dick Brown BAL DET Mickey Lolich down 1-0 b9 1-- 2 2 0.91 HR; Saverine Scores
110 1963-07-29 Don Lock WSA CHW Joe Horlen down 1-0 b9 -2- 2 2 0.86 HR; Hinton Scores
111 1963-08-11 Jerry Lynch PIT HOU Hal Brown down 1-0 b9 1-- 2 2 0.91 HR; Clemente Scores
139 1966-09-21 Willie Horton DET CAL Dean Chance down 1-0 b9 -2- 2 2 0.87 HR; Cash Scores
154 1968-09-25 Ron Santo CHC LAD Bill Singer down 1-0 b9 123 0 4 0.28 HR; Smith Scores; Williams Scores; Nen Scores
172 1970-09-15 (2) Curt Blefary NYY BOS Mike Nagy down 2-0 b9 -23 1 3 0.73 HR; Lyttle Scores; Baker Scores/unER
182 1971-08-24 Jim Spencer CAL WSA Pete Broberg down 1-0 b9 1-- 1 2 0.82 HR; Fregosi Scores
193 1972-09-09 Dave Kingman SFG CIN Don Gullett down 1-0 b9 1-- 1 2 0.81 HR; Maddox Scores
247 1978-06-02 Jose Cruz HOU STL John Denny down 1-0 b9 1-- 1 2 0.82 HR; Cabell Scores
253 1978-07-26 Lou Piniella NYY CLE Rick Waits down 1-0 b9 1-3 1 3 0.55 HR; Rivers Scores; Munson Scores
268 1979-07-23 Dave Kingman CHC CIN Tom Hume down 1-0 b9 -2- 0 2 0.55 HR (LF-CF); Dilone Scores
281 1980-10-01 George Foster CIN SDP Bob Shirley down 1-0 b9 1-- 0 2 0.68 HR; Kennedy Scores
312 1984-06-24 Tim Teufel MIN CHW Richard Dotson down 2-0 b9 12- 1 3 0.80 HR; Engle Scores; Brunansky Scores
420 1994-05-07 Mark Lemke ATL MON Jeff Fassero down 1-0 b9 1-- 2 2 0.90 HR (Fly Ball to Deep LF); Brown Scores
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/18/2013.

There are two Hall of Famers among the 21 home run hitters. Mickey Mantle hit the only one that came in extra innings and Ron Santo hit the only one that was a grand slam.

Last night's was the only game on the list in which the pitcher had driven in the only run prior to the final inning.

Gee had only allowed three hits in the first eight innings, but seven of the pitchers listed had allowed even fewer before the last frame. Harry Perkowski, Dean Chance, Pete Broberg and Don Gullett took two-hitters into the ninth.

Bill Singer was three outs away from a one-hitter before the Cubs went walk-double-intentional walk to load the bases before the aforementioned Santo grand slam. Mickey Lolich was two outs away from a one-hitter and one out from a two-hitter until Dick Brown hit his pinch-hit blast. But one game takes the cake, and it came on the same exact day as the Lolich game.

On July 29, 1963, White Sox righty Joe Horlen no-hit the Washington Senators for eight innings. He retired the first batter of the ninth, but Chuck Hinton knocked a single to break up the no-hit bid. The next batter grounded out, so at least Horlen was an out away from the shutout, but then Don Lock clubbed a home run to deal him a stunning defeat.

As Tim Kurkjian of ESPN often likes to say, you go to a baseball game and you might see something that's never happened before. In this case it's something that happens very rarely and had not occurred since "The Sign" by Ace of Base was the #1 song in America.

One other thing about this game. The Mets won on Sunday on a come-from-behind walk-off dinger, making them the first team since at least 1945 to be on both ends of this event in consecutive games. On five occasions it happened in back-to-back games in the same series (with the same team hitting the homer). There was also once instance of a team giving up game-ending comeback walk-offs in two straight games, but to different opponents.

Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out RBI
8/5/1978 John Lowenstein TEX CLE Jim Kern down 3-2 b12 1-- 2 2
8/6/1978 Gary Gray TEX CLE Rick Waits down 2-1 b9 1-- 2 2
6/22/1979 Doug DeCinces BAL DET Dave Tobik down 5-4 b9 1-- 2 2
6/23/1979 Eddie Murray BAL DET John Hiller down 6-5 b9 12- 1 3
7/8/1982 Jerry Hairston CWS DET Dan Petry down 2-1 b9 1-- 2 2
7/9/1982 Buddy Bell TEX DET Dave Tobik down 2-1 b9 .-2- 1 2
8/29/1986 Dick Schofield CAL DET Willie Hernandez down 12-9 b9 123 2 4
8/30/1986 Doug DeCinces CAL DET Bill Campbell down 4-3 b9 1-- 1 2
5/10/2005 Kevin Millar BOS OAK Octavio Dotel down 2-1 b9 1-- 1 2
5/11/2005 Jason Varitek BOS OAK Octavio Dotel down 5-4 b9 1-- 1 2
6/28/2007 Carlos Lee HOU COL Brian Fuentes down 5-4 b11 123 2 4
6/29/2007 Mark Loretta HOU COL Brian Fuentes down 8-7 b9 1-- 2 2
6/16/2013 Kirk Nieuwenhuis NYM CHN Carlos Marmol down 3-1 b9 -23 1 3
6/17/2013 Freddie Freeman ATL NYM Dillon Gee down 1-0 b9 1-- 1 2

That first Angels-Tigers game was a doozy. The Tigers led 12-5 with one out in the ninth and 12-9 with two outs. Schofield hit what some call an "Ultimate Grand Slam," a homer hit with the bases loaded with two outs and down three runs. The five hitters to pull this off since Schofield are Alan Trammell, Chris Hoiles, Brian Giles, Adam Dunn and Ryan Roberts.

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