AP Photo/Duane Burleson
It was a moment of jubilation for Rajai Davis on Monday night.
On a night in which the Detroit Tigers honored the 30th anniversary of their 1984 championship team, it was appropriate that they pulled out the sort of win that they did against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
Rajai Davis joined Alan Trammell (1988) as the only players in Tigers history to hit a walk-off grand slam when the team was down by three at the time of the home run. Trammell was at Monday’s ceremony along with double-play mate Lou Whitaker.
Walk-Off Grand Slams -- This Season
Davis, Whitaker and Trammell are the past three Tigers to hit a walk-off grand slam with the Tigers trailing by any margin.
This was Davis’ first career walk-off home run and third career grand slam. It was his first grand slam since July 10, 2010, as a member of the Athletics against the Los Angeles Angels. The pitcher for the Angels that day was the same pitcher who started the game for the Athletics on Monday, Scott Kazmir.
Davis has six home runs in 2014, matching the total he had in 2013. He’s only two shy of his single-season career high, set with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
Inside the At-Bat
One thing Davis has shown over the past two seasons is that he has the ability to turn on a breaking ball left dangling over the plate from a left-handed pitcher.
Entering his at-bat against Athletics southpaw closer Sean Doolittle, Davis was 20-for-44 in at-bats that ended with a breaking ball from a left-handed pitcher dating back to the start of the 2013 season.
He got a slider on both pitches from Doolittle, the first of which he took for ball one, the second of which he crushed over the left-field fence.
What was intriguing is that Doolittle doesn’t often throw his slider to right-handed hitters (he throws 90 percent fastballs and 5 percent changeups). But Doolittle had just thrown nine straight fastballs to Austin Jackson, the last of which resulted in only Doolittle’s second walk of the season (against 57 strikeouts).
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Doolittle is the first pitcher in baseball's modern era (since 1900) to have at least 50 strikeouts before walking his second hitter of the season.
He’d also struck out Eugenio Suarez with a slider earlier in the inning.
Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Night
We should have known we were getting a walk-off grand slam on Monday ...
Davis hit the fifth walk-off grand slam that came on June 30. There is only one other date with at least five walk-off grand slams, and that is June 11 -- when there have been six.