Our look at the interesting and unusual in Major League Baseball features an eventful week in the walk-off department and some good use of lucky number 13.
• After nine scoreless innings Wednesday, Chris Parmelee gave the Minnesota Twins a lead with a solo homer in the 10th. The Boston Red Sox turned that into a one-run victory when David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back homers in the bottom.
The last team to score its only two runs on a tying homer back-to-back with a walk-off homer was the Cleveland Indians, who did it on April 16, 2000 (Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome). The Red Sox are the first team in the live-ball era to do it in extra innings. And according to Elias, it's the third time in Red Sox history they've hit tying and walk-off homers back-to-back. None other than Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx did it on July 3, 1940, and Darren Lewis and Jeff Frye duplicated the feat in 1999.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates had the literal version of the "walk"-off on Thursday when Cincinnati Reds reliever Tony Cingrani gave up a single, an intentional walk, hit a batter, and then passed Russell Martin on five pitches. Gaby Sanchez was forced home with the third "walk"-off in the majors this season. It was the Pirates' first since Jose Bautista walked against the Cubs' Ryan Dempster in August 2006. And they hadn't received one so late in a game (two outs in the 12th) since Jim Fregosi forced home Ed Ott against the Braves on July 24, 1977.
• The Indians surrendered two runs in the top of the 10th Thursday, then loaded the bases in the bottom half on a double and two walks. Nick Swisher lofted a ball into the front row for a walk-off grand slam, the fourth in the majors this year. It was just the third walk-off grand slam in extra innings in Indians history.
Carlos Martinez hit one to beat the Mariners in September 1992; and their first one was by Don Dillard to cap a doubleheader sweep of the Detroit Tigers on July 4, 1962.
• Carlos Beltran capped the New York Yankees' Friday comeback with a three-run walk-off homer. It was their first walk-off victory of the year; the Yankees had been battling the Kansas City Royals to be the final team without one. The last time the Yankees hit a walk-off homer while trailing by at least two runs was on May 17, 2002, when Jason Giambi's grand slam gave them a 13-12 win over the Twins. Beltran joins Darryl Strawberry as the only two players to hit walk-off homers for both the Yankees and Mets.
After last week had 13-inning games on three straight days (including one on Friday the 13th), there were two more of note on Monday:
• The Philadelphia Phillies scored five times in the 13th to down the Atlanta Braves 6-1. It was the first time the Phillies had scored 5+ in any inning numbered 13 or higher in nearly 98 years. On August 19, 1916, they won another 6-1 game in 14 innings in Cincinnati. (Pitcher Eppa Rixey threw all 14 innings, and then pitched 15⅔ more innings in his next start!)
• Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood pinch-hit in the 13th and doubled home Junior Lake for a win over the Miami Marlins. Although Carlos Zambrano had two pinch-hit singles in extra innings, Wood is the first Cubs pitcher-as-pinch-hitter with an extra-base hit in extra innings since Les Sweetland had an 11th-inning double off then-Dodger Jack Quinn on July 18, 1931.
Combined with Yovani Gallardo's walk-off double a few weeks ago, it's the first season since 1990 where two pitchers have had pinch-hit RBI in extras. Zane Smith of the Expos and Dennis Rasmussen of the Padres did it that year.
• Sean Doolittle ot the Oakland Athletics pinch-hit on Sunday in the bottom of the 10th and had a chance to be the third. He grounded out to end the game. But in so doing, he became the first A's pitcher to appear in a game as a pinch hitter since Bob Welch hit into a game-ending double play against the Royals on May 13, 1994.
• By the way, care to take a guess at how many 13-inning games have been played so far this season? Yep. Thirteen.