Walkoff Wonderland: D-backs' 13 in 2013

Ralph Freso

Last year, the Diamondbacks had just two walk-off wins all year. This season? We surpassed that tally in April, and ended with 13, smashing the previous franchise-best of ten, set in 1999. Let's review each and every one: which was your favorite?

Overview

Paul Goldschmidt was the king of the walk-offs for Arizona this season. Having never had one before, he got his first on April 14 against the Dodgers and added three more before the end of the season: that trio were all walk-off homers. The only other player with a walk-off bomb for the Diamondbacks in 2013 was Adam Eaton, who took the Orioles' Darren O'Day deep on August 12. Aaron Hill and Cliff Pennington were the other D-backs with more than one walk-off hit this year. Curiously, none of our walkoffs came with two outs in the inning: nine came with one down, and the other four before anyone had been retired.

The golden span began August 9. From there, through September 4, Arizona won eight games at chase - all but one of those was a walkoff. That included an incredible series against Baltimore, where we swept the Orioles on three consecutive dogpiles at home-plate. It was the second time in franchise history we'd had back-to-back-to-back walkoffs: the first time was in May 1999, when we swept the Expos. That may have been fractionally more impressive, as all three wins there came on home-runs, by Jay Bell Luis Gonzalez and Matt Williams; this year, we started with homers by Eaton and Goldschmidt, before Hill "only" delivered a single to complete the sweep.

#1. April 3 vs. STL


Cliff Pennington vs. Fernando Salas. It took a while - the longest game in Chase Field history - and the D-backs had first to tie the game in the 8th, then again in the 12th. Finally, a walk to Jason Kubel was followed by a pinch-hit bunt from Ian Kennedy of all people, and Pennington driving the ball through the infield to right-center, allowing Kubel to score without a throw.

#2. April 14 vs. LAD


Paul Goldschmidt vs. Josh Beckett. There's not many times you get to walk-off against the opposing starter, but that what we did here. Beckett had held us scoreless for eight innings, but Trevor Cahill and our bullpen had matched him. This'll seem strange now, but the Dodgers intentionally walked Miguel Montero to get to Goldschmidt. Ah, how long ago that seems....

#3. April 27 vs. COL


Cody Ross vs. Edgmer Escalona. Pollock set the table again, leading off with a single in the bottom of the 10th, then his steal of second allowed him to take third, on an error by the catcher. After another intentional walk to Montero (look, it was April - nobody knew at that point...), Ross almost got a three-run homer, but had to settle for a sac fly. The best part was probably his bat-flip.

#4. May 27 vs. TEX


Cliff Pennington vs. Robbie Ross. This was the night-cap of the Memorial Day double-header, and I imagine our players were particularly grateful Cliffie spared them having to play any more than 18 innings on the day. Another intentional walk - this one to Prado - backfired, and this was the one which spawned the Diamondbacks tradition of bubble-gum baths.

#5. June 18 vs. MIA


Paul Goldschmidt vs. Chad Qualls. Our first walk-off home-run of the season was courtesy of a familiar face, as former closer Qualls came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. It didn't take long. Two pitches, in fact, before Goldzilla deposited the ball to dead-center, for his 17th home-run of the season. We won 3-2, despite only two at-bats and no hits with runners in scoring position.

#6. June 22 vs. CIN


Jason Kubel vs. Aroldis Chapman. Chapman didn't blow many saves this year - only five - but this was spectacular, and gave us only come-from-behind walkoff of the year. After a lead-off single by Goldie, we took advantage of a wild pitch and two walks to load the bases, and Kubel then swatted a 97 mph pitch back up the middle, to bring home both tying and winning runs with one swing.

#7. August 9 vs. NYM


Paul Goldschmidt vs. Scott Aitchison. It's impressive that when you search for "Goldschmidt walk-off" in MLB's video section, you get four pages of clips. This one got Arizona off the hook, after the Heath Bell Experience had allowed two runs in the eighth to tie the game at four. With one out in the ninth, Paul untied it, with a pitch that got out of the park in quite a hurry.

#8. August 12 vs. BAL


Adam Eaton vs. Darren O'Day. Between injury and a slow start, It took a while for Eaton to deliver his first home-run of the season - more than a month after his debut - but you can't complain about the timing of his splash-down. It capped a wild game which saw both sides blow saves, with runs being scored and the lead being gained or lost in each of the last five half-innings.

#9. August 13 vs. BAL


Paul Goldschmidt vs. T.J. McFarland. This was even more heart-stopping. Arizona trailed 3-0 in the seventh, scored two there and Goldschmidt tied things up with a home-run to lead off the ninth. He wasn't finished, leading off the 11th, homering again. He was the first player in over 50 years with a leadoff game-tying bomb in the ninth or later, followed by a leadoff walk-off HR [Willie Kirkland 6/14/63].

#10. August 14 vs. BAL


Aaron Hill vs. Bud Norris. After the last two night, the way this ended was almost inevitable. As the previous night, we had the same man to thank for tying the game in the ninth and sending us home happy in extras. This time, it was Hill who did both, singling home Gerardo Parra to tie the game in the ninth, then singling home Parra again in the 14th to give us our third consecutive walk-off.

#11. August 27 vs. SDP


Aaron Hill vs. Dale Thayer. David Holmberg's major-league debut will perhaps be remembered more for the late-inning fireworks. Leading 7-3 going into the eighth, the D-backs blew the lead, retook it in the bottom of the eighth by scoring twice, only to blow that as well in the ninth. However, Hill came through once again, banging the ball to left in the 10th.

#12. 8/31 vs. SFG


Eric Chavez vs. Sandy Rosario. This shows how things had changed since early on the season. After a leadoff single, a bunt advanced the runner but left first open. Even with a right-handed reliever on the mound, the Giants chose to walk Goldschmidt and face the left-handed Chavez. I must look into the IBBs issued to the D-backs this year and see how they worked out. I suspect "not well".

#13. September 4 vs. TOR


Willie Bloomquist vs. Jeremy Jeffress. This was Willie's first walk-off hit as a Diamondback: his first since May 2009, in fact. Mind you, that's still one more than Miguel Montero, the only man who has played 350+ games for us without a walk-off. He's at 770 and counting; #2 is Mark Grace, all the way down at 335. Maybe 2014 will be the year Montero finally gets to wear the bubble-gum hat.

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