December 8, 2013
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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 1: I took my bike out for a spin for the first time in a while last evening. It was a nice ride on a nice night. At least apart from the crazy, over-the-handlebars wreck I got into at the corner of Alpath and Johnston Road. There were no apparent injuries at the time -- not even a scrape -- and I got up and rode away before anyone saw me. But as I went to bed last night my ankle became very grouchy and it hurts like the dickens this morning. It's basically telling me "stick to the treadmill, old man." Meanwhile, a nearly 50 year-old man in Colorado pitched effective ball into the seventh inning and drove in two by hauling ass down to first on an infield single. Sigh.
Rangers 4, Athletics 1: I watched a lot of this and I can offer you my expert opinion: Yu Darvish is pretty good. He moves his record up to 6-1 after seven and two-thirds innings of one-run ball. Bonus: at one point during the game the Rangers announcers had an extended conversation about the rapper B.o.B., which is something I didn't need to hear.
Indians 9, Mariners 3: It's not often you see a line like this from Felix Hernandez: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 3 BB and only three strikeouts. Eric Wedge after the game: "Felix just had an off-day. He's human. I think sometimes we forget about that." It's easy to forget that, actually. Normally it takes only twenty, thirty questions, cross-referenced, to figure that out. With Hernandez it took 100. Wait ... he doesn't know, does he!
Marlins 8, Braves 4: Miami stays hot, notching its 12th win in 15 games in the month of May. Mike Minor has another ugly start for the Braves. Freddi Gonzalez gave him a vote of confidence after the game, but I see Gwinnett in his future.
Reds 6, Mets 3: Todd Frazier hit two homers. The second off of D.J. Carrasco, who got released right after the game. A heckuva couple of nights for Carrasco.
Astros 8, Brewers 3: Carlos Lee drove in three and Bud Norris pitched seven strong. The Astros -- who were supposed to be historically bad -- and the Brewers -- who were supposed to contend -- have the same 16-21 record.
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1: Hiroki Kuroda was shellacked and Kyle Drabek ... wasn't. Homers from Edwin Encarnacio, Jose Bautista, Kelly Johnson and J.C. Arencibia.
Nationals 7, Pirates 4: Adam LaRoche had a double, a homer and four driven in. Gio Gonzalez struck out ten in seven innings. Four runs is something of an offensive outburst for the Pirates lately.
Phillies 9, Cubs 2: It was tied up heading into the eighth and then Philly scored seven runs in the last two innings. Hector Luna hit a grand slam and Carlos Ruiz hit a homer of his own. Meanwhile, Placido Polanco left the game in the seventh with a knee contusion. Because the Phillies need more injured infielders. The Phillies are at .500.
Twins 11, Tigers 7: Is it time to press the panic button yet? Kinda feels like it. As was prophesied in the spring, horrible defense -- every member of the Tigers infield committed an error -- made Rick Porcello's night harder than it needed to be, which is saying something given that he kinda stunk anyway. Oh, and Austin Jackson left with an injury, and he's been hitting better than just about anyone on that squad.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1: There was a scary moment when Will Rhymes passed out after taking first base upon being hit by a pitch on the forearm in the bottom of the eighth. As Marc Topkin reports, when he came-to, the medical staff asked him what his name was and he said "Batman." Granted, Batman didn't even pass out when the leader of the Mutants nearly killed him in "Dark Knight Returns," so no fastball is gonna give him trouble, but we'll give Rhymes credit for pluck.
Padres 4, Dodgers 2: Chase Headley homered, doubled and drove in three. If was his fifth homer of the year. Last year he hit only four.
Orioles 4, Royals 3: 0 for 6 while stranding a bunch of runners through the first 14 innings? No worries, Adam Jones hit a homer in the 15th to lift the O's to victory in a mini-marathon. I say mini, because they had that 17 inning game against the Red Sox less than two weeks ago. I guess it's their thing.
Cardinals 4, Giants 1: David Freese hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh and Skip Shumaker pinch hit in the eighth and delivered with a two-run double. Jaime Garcia struck out nine.
Angels 7, White Sox 2: More signs of life from Albert Pujols. Three hits on Tuesday and a three-run homer in this one. And a study in contrasts: Jerome Williams allowed ten hits and only two runs. Gavin Floyd allowed ten hits and seven runs.
Ten years ago, Jason Giambi had perhaps the greatest game of his life. It was certainly the most clutch at-bat he ever had in a regular-season game, and it served as his New York Yankee coming out.
In the offseason, Giambi moved from Oakland to the greener pastures of the Bronx. The 2000 AL MVP became a free agent after the 2001 season and signed a big payday with the Yankees, who had won four of the previous six world titles. They could pay him the most and give him the best chance at October glory.
In New York, he got off to a slow start in the first week of the year. Though he soon recovered, the pressure was on. He was playing well, but not MVP-well, and the Yankees ended April a game behind the Red Sox in the AL East. For the Yankees, that wasn’t up to snuff.
At the quarter post, Giambi had eight homers with a .286 batting average and .385 on-base percentage. That’s nice, but not what the Yankees were paying for. He needed a big day, and that’s when the calendar turned to May 17, 2002.
The Yankees hosted the upstart Minnesota Twins that day. Early on, it looked like a laugher, with New York holding a comfortable 8-3 lead. Then Minnesota stormed back with a six-run inning and kept their 9-8 lead until the ninth. At that time, veteran Yankee Bernie Williams belted a game-tying homer to send things into extra innings.
Neither team could break the stalemate. It went on inning after inning, with the score still knotted, 9-9. Four innings passed with neither team able to score a run.
So far, Giambi had been a complete non-factor. He had an early double and an extra-inning single, but neither safety led to any runs. After 13 frames, he was 2-for-5 on the day. Not bad, but nothing memorable.
The 14th would be very memorable. First, Minnesota broke the deadlock in the top of the inning. Behind four singles, a walk, and an error, Minnesota scored thrice to seemingly ice the game with a 12-9 lead.
However, the Yankees weren’t about to give up. In the bottom of the frame, three of the first four Yankees reached base, loading them up with just one out.
With the bases loaded, Giambi strode to the plate with the game on the line. He didn’t make anyone wait, bashing the first pitch out of the park for a game-winning, walk-off grand slam.
Walk-off grand slams are inherently cool. A walk-off slam with a team trailing by three is even cooler. A walk-off slam with a team trailing by three in the 14th inning? Yeah, that’s the coolest of all. And it’s what Jason Giambi did exactly 10 years ago today.
Giambi ended up hitting well over .300 with a superlative OBP and 41 homers in 2002, but then his performance fell off. Based on his numbers, his contract probably wasn’t worth it, but then again, the Yankees can afford to overpay. And no one can ever take away what happened on May 17, 2002.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to skim over things.
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