Game 157

September 24, 2013 – Jason Giambi Walkoff Keeps the Tribe’s Playoff Hopes Alive

Back in Game 16 of the 2013 season, a 5-RBI game likely kept Jason Giambi on the roster. In Game 105 he became the oldest player to hit a walkoff home run. 

Photo Credit: David Richard

The Indians entered this Tuesday night contest barely hanging on to the second wildcard spot. The White Sox sent Hector Santiago to the hill to face Ubaldo Jiminez. After two rough years, Ubaldo had been carrying the Indians rotation since Justin Masterson’s early-season injury. 

Michael Brantley put the Tribe out in front with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. 

Jiminez walked Connor Gillespie to lead of the top of the fourth. Paul Konerko singled to right to advance Gillispie to third. After Ubaldo struck out Adam Dunn, Avasail Garcia hit a long fly to left. Gillespie scampered home to score on the sacrifice. 

Jiminez gave up five hits and struck out seven over 6 ⅓ innings of work. In the top of the seventh he gave up a single to Gordan Beckham and walked Josh Phegley. Cody Allen entered the game looking to end the threat. Alejandro De Aza singled to left, scoring Beckham and putting the Sox up 2-1. 

Michael Brantley took Hector Santiago’s first pitch deep into right field to tie things up. Mike Aviles lined one into left for a single. Michael Bourn laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Aviles over to second. Nate Jones came on to pitch and got Nick Swisher to fly out to center. Jason Kipnis stepped in and lined Jones’ 1-1 pitch into left to put the Tribe on top 3-2. 

Joe Smith retired Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and Avisail Garcia in order in the eighth. Nate Jones returned the favor. 

Chris Perez came on looking for the save in the top of the ninth. Dayan Viciedo smashed Perez’ third pitch over the right field wall to tie the game. Perez struck out the next two White Sox before he hung the first pitch to Alejandro De Aza. De Aza’s homer to right-center put the Sox up 4-3. After Alexei Ramirez poked a single through the left side of the infield, Perez left the mound to a chorus of boos. 

Marc Rzepczynski hit the only batter he faced before Bryan Shaw got the final out of the ninth. 

Yan Gomes struck out swinging to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Michael Brantley poked a single through the right side of the infield and was safely aboard. Mike Aviles struck out, and things were looking bleak. Michael Brantley stole second to get into scoring position with Jason Giambi at the plate. 

Giambi crushed Addison Reed’s 1-1 pitch deep into right field. This was his third pinch-hit walkoff for the Indians. “Yeah I ran into it, I hit it,” Giambi said. “There’s nothing more special, that’s what keeps me coming back every year.” With that he bested his own record as the oldest player to hit a walkoff homer. 

Photo Credit: Kyle Emery

Soak in this Hammy Call:

Jason Kipnis put it best in a post-game tweet, “Are you shitting me with this game tonight!! Big G and the Goon Squad comin thru again!! Unreal game tonight!!”

Now, contrast with the call from Hawk Harrelson:

This was the Indians 11th walkoff win of the season, and fifth win in a row. Most importantly, it kept them 1 game ahead of the Rangers in the Wild Card race.

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 105

July 29, 2013 – Jason Giambi becomes Oldest MLBer to Hit a Walkoff Home Run

Zach McAllister was facing John Danks as the Indians were making a late-July surge into the playoff race against the scuffling White Sox. The Tribe entered Game 105 2 ½ games back of division-leading Detroit. 

Jason Giambi was hitting under .200 in his spot appearances so far in 2013. Although he was a clubhouse leader and mentor to many of the younger players, there was plenty of speculation that he would be the victim of trade-deadline maneuvering with his production so low. 

In the bottom of the second, Asdrubal Cabrera reached on a throwing error. Ryan Rayburn knocked a double through the left side of the infield, advancing Cabrera to third. Asdrubal scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana. 

McAllister held the Sox scoreless through five innings, scattering only two hits on his first two trips through the lineup. In the top of the sixth, McAllister got two quick outs against De Aza and Alexei Ramirez. Alex Rios started the White Sox two-out rally with a double down the right field line. Adam Dunn drove Rios home with an almost identical double. On McAllister’s very next pitch Paul Konerko singled to center, driving in Dunn for the go-ahead run. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Danks walked both Michael Bourn and NIck Swisher to lead off the inning. Jason Kipnis laid down a bunt down the third base line and beat the throw to first to load the bases. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded to short and was put out at first, but Bourn scored the tying run. 

McAllister recovered, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh. Then a combination of Cody Allen, Rich Hill, and Chris Perez held down the 2-2 tie, bringing the Tribe up in the bottom of the ninth. 

Jason Giambi came on to pinch hit for Mark Reynolds. He crushed a 1-1 pitch from right-handed Sox reliever Ramon Troncoso over the center-field wall and into the batter’s eye greenery. 

After a ice-water bath from his teammates, Giambi quipped “I might catch pneumonia. I’m too old to get a bucket of cold water dumped on me.”

With that blast, Giambi became the oldest player in MLB history to hit a game-ending home run. He was 42 years, 202 days old — 45 days older than Hank Aaron when he set the record in 1976. He also sealed his role as the clubhouse leader and veteran guru for the Tribe’s run to the wildcard game. 

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention – August 20, 1995 – Jose Mesa Surpasses Eckersley with 37th Converted Save

Baseball Reference Box Score