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A Brief Look at Come-From-Behind Walk-Offs

Adrian Gonzalez needs 11 more to tie Andre Ethier with Walk-Offs as a Dodger.
Adrian Gonzalez needs 11 more to tie Andre Ethier with Walk-Offs as a Dodger.

Yesterday's walk-off win was dramatic and also quite rare, because the Dodgers were trailing in the game when the walk-off hit occurred. While home teams do win games in their last plate appearance, almost always, it comes when the game is tied. Here is a brief review, especially timely given this is the 50th Anniversary of Dodger Stadium, to look back at a few of those rare games at Dodger Stadium.

1. September 18, 2006 - (4+1) Dodgers beat Padres 10-9. Nomar Garciaparra hits a two-run home run to win game in the bottom of the 10th. This game had many interesting things about it, 4 consecutive home runs in the 9th not being the least of it. But one thing I always wondered about that 10th inning was why Kenny Lofton didn't attempt to steal second. During that year, Lofton would end up with 32 stolen bases in 37 attempts. I had a chance to ask Lofton about that inning a few months ago and he said that with a batter like Nomar, you never knew when he might swing (Nomar was a notorious first pitch swinger) and the last thing you wanted to happened was a possible line out double play.

2. April 17, 2011 - Cardinals Closer Gives Up Kemp Homer, The last time the Dodgers walked off from a possible defeat was this game against the Cardinals. A scoreless tie going to the 9th inning, after two outs, Broxton gave up a double, an intentional walk and then a single to 2011 NLCS and World Series MVP David Freese to give the Cards a 1-0 lead going to the bottom of the 9th. Lefty Trever Miller was brought in to pitch to Ethier, Ethier promptly doubled. Kemp was up next and as reported by Eric Stephen, Kemp asked Mattingly if he should bunt Ethier over to third, Mattingly said no, I need you to drive him in. Kemp promptly did that with the home run, Vin Scully saying something like, the only man who could beat the Cardinals, just did.

3. 2009 - Andre Ethier's Walk-Off Year. In 2009, Ethier had 6 walk-off hits, 4 of those were home runs. Of those 6 hits, 3 happened when the Dodgers trailed:

a. June 5, 2009 - Facing Brad Lidge and the Phillies, the Dodgers were down 3-2 and Lidge got the first two batters out, Casey Blake singled, Loney walked and then Russell Martin got on base on an error. Ethier, batting 7th that day, hit a line drive to right to score Blake and Loney and the Dodgers beat the Philles 4-3. (Ethier would go back to back on walk-offs, the next afternoon, he homered off Chad Durbin in a tie game in the bottom of the 12th).

b. August 6, 2009 - This time the deficit was two runs, and the Dodgers were facing Rafael Soriano and the Braves. Soriano would get 27 saves that year but it wasn't going to happen this day. Juan Pierre led off the inning with a single, Furcal followed with another single, putting runners at 1st and 3rd. Ethier deposited a 2-0 pitch in the RF Pavilion to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win.

c. September 15, 2009 - An extra inning game, Belisario gave up a run in the top of the 13th inning to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Furcal led off the inning with a single, Russell Martin flied out to left and then the Pirates brought in lefty Phil Dumatrait to face Ethier. Ethier hit his first pitch over the RF wall for the 5-4 victory.

There are two famous come from behind walk-offs in Dodger World Series history, the first one that gets played a lot when the D-Backs are in town, is Gibson's home run. The other is one that was equally famous at its time though it happened 41 years before.

The 1947 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees was the beginning of a stretch of World Series between the players of these particular ball clubs. Many of them would meet 5 more times through 1956. It also saw the first World Series with an Black player (Jackie Robinson).

The Yankees had won the first two games and were ahead 2-1 in Game 4 at Ebbets Field going to the bottom of the 9th. But the story was Bill Bevens, for 8 innings he had bobbed and weaved against the Dodgers, allowing no hits but he walked 8 batters. In the bottom of the 9th, he had two out and one on (his 9th walk), when Pete Reiser came up to pinch hit. Al Gionfriddo who had been brought in to pinch run for Furillo, stole second base (imagine a no-hitter being saved by a caught stealing), the Yankees then intentionally walked Reiser.

I'll let Red Barber describe the rest.