Home > Sports Weirdness > Sunday was all about crazy comebacks in baseball

Sunday was all about crazy comebacks in baseball


Movie, good. Baseball, better.

I saw “The Jungle Book” today. Very entertaining. Even with so many of today’s movies being overwhelmed by computer graphics, the CGI in this movie is outstanding. If there is a criticism, it’s that, other than the wolf pack and a couple others in the forest, there seems to be only one of each animal. One panther. One tiger. One snake. One bear. Forget about the one human boy among the wild; someone needs to investigate what befell so many of the species in this ecosystem.

But that’s all I did Sunday. Otherwise, I relaxed and watched some baseball. However, it’s difficult to relax when you are on the edge of your seat, and that’s where a handful of games put me. There were some wholeheartedly “good” games — Mets-Braves, Cardinals-Padres and Marlins-Giants were all tense late — but four games specifically turned this lazy Sunday into a crazy one.

Let’s start chronologically and with perhaps the wildest game of the bunch: Twins-Nationals. Stephen Strasburg was the story for the first seven innings. But in the eighth, he challenged Brian Dozier with one too many fastballs, and Dozier sent Strasburg’s 114th and final pitch way out for a three-run homer that gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead.

The Nats got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth. Then in the ninth, Dusty Baker made a brilliant managerial move: He sent Bryce Harper to the plate. What a strategy.

Harper had been given the day off, but in a one-run game, it was time for him to get involved.

Harper took a couple of hacks that made it known he wants to hit this ball into the Atlantic. I’m not sure why Kevin Jepsen gave him the chance — so what if you walk Bryce Harper? Throw it out of the zone, for goodness sake — but his low fastball wasn’t low enough. Unless you’re a Twins fan, click here to feel all the chills.

The game remained tied until Miguel Sano’s RBI single in the 15th inning. But that lead was short-lived. After a two-out walk and a very critical stolen base by Danny Espinosa, pitcher Oliver Perez had an at-bat, his first in six years. He put down a bunt of all things, and catcher John Ryan Murphy threw it away down the right field line. Tied again. Simply nuts. Perez actually became the winning pitcher when Chris Heisey hit a walk-off homer in the 16th.

And we’re just getting started. In Colorado, the Dodgers wasted a 7-3 lead that turned into a 10-7 disadvantage when the Rockies plated five in the bottom of the eighth. Jake McGee came on to pick up the save. Instead, he gave up five runs of his own and the Dodgers went back up, 12-10.

If you look at just the box score, you won’t notice that the Rockies probably would have won this game if not for a simple bobble. With one out and the bases loaded, Trayce Thompson hit a tailor-made double-play ball to Trevor Story. But Story couldn’t gather the ball smoothly and instead of a game-ending 6-4-3, the Rockies got just one out, the Dodgers scored one run and the game continued at 10-8.

Single, wild pitch, double, double, Kenley Jansen, game over.

It should be mentioned that the Dodgers’ own miscues in the field really helped the Rockies gain the lead, so perhaps the end result was only fair.

Down in the desert, the Diamondbacks had fought back from an 8-3 deficit and were trailing the Pirates by two in the ninth inning. That is until Paul Goldschmidt hit a game-tying shot to knot the score at 8-8. Goldschmidt hit two homers this afternoon and both were caught by the same fan in right field. However, that registered only about a three on the “that’s really odd” scale from this game.

After the Pirates scored twice in the top of the 12th, the Diamondbacks needed to fight back again. One problem: They had run out of position players.

Someone needed to hit for Tyler Clippard with one on and one out. Enter Zack Greinke, who has always been a good hitter, relatively. He was 3-for-7 on the season. Make that 4-for-8 after his hard grounder to third resulted in an infield single.

Now the D-Backs needed to get some speed on the basepaths. Enter Shelby Miller (?) pinch-running for Zack Greinke. And of course, Miller would come around to score on Jean Segura’s game-tying single. 10-10. Arizona let a golden opportunity to win the game slip by as Brandon Drury and Yasmany Tomas struck out with the winning run on third.

That created another problem for the Diamondbacks: They had no shortstop. Right before Greinke’s pinch-hit appearance, shortstop Nick Ahmed was ejected for arguing balls and strikes (he had a good case, too). Thus, manager Chip Hale had to scramble. He moved players all around the diamond, which included putting Shelby Miller in left field. To his credit, Miller almost threw a runner out at second base.

The Pirates would score twice more in the 13th inning to put Arizona away at last. The final run was driven in by pinch-hitter Jon Niese. The pinch-hitting pitchers here went 2-for-4 (Miller and Patrick Corbin struck out to end the game) and none of them ever set foot on the mound. See, that dude who caught two home run balls from the same player doesn’t seem so strange now, does it?

Finally, we end with a game that wasn’t even going to be a part of this post when I began writing it. But Craig Kimbrel just couldn’t shut the door for the Red Sox. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game in Houston wasn’t always a fun watch; I believe the first three innings took about 15 hours to complete, but it made up for its slow pace with some great drama in the ninth.

Kimbrel came in to guard a two-run lead and opened with two quick outs. But after a ringing double from Carlos Correa, Colby Rasmus jacked a fastball right down the middle of the plate into the right-center field seats. Tie game. Because if there’s one thing this day needed, it was extra baseball.

The Red Sox tagged the ever-struggling Ken Giles for two runs in the 12th to close out the game and this zany day.

Four games, 50 innings, 67 runs, four ninth-inning comebacks. Three game-tying home runs in the ninth. An MVP and pitchers came up big in pinch-hit appearances and another pitcher played left field. Three teams blew a lead of at least three runs and all of them won anyway. Average time of game: 5 hours, 10 minutes.

Not a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday.

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