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.