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In an era in which we're used to walkoff homers and singles and even walkoff walks are glorified, the walkoff triple is a rare event. Santiago's walkoff triple last night was the first since Rajai Davis hit one on August 3, 2009. That was the only walkoff triple in 2009. There was only one in 2008, too, off of Eugenio Velez's bat in September. There were three in 2007 (Chone Figgins, Luke Scott, and Rick Ankiel), one in 2006, two in 2005, two in 2004, one in 2003, two in 2002, and just one in 2001.
It makes sense that the walkoff triple would be such a rare play; why should a runner keep running on a ball in the gap that's obviously going to score the game winning run? Most potential walkoff triples probably end up in the books as walkoff doubles. Santiago only made it to third on his hit last night because Victor Martinez is so slow that what should've been an easy game-winner ended up with a throw to the plate. Santiago had to keep running so that in case Martinez was thrown out, he'd still have a chance to score.
In fact, that's what a walkoff triple is almost always going to take; a ball in the gap, a slow runner, a play at the plate, and less than two outs so that the batter has motivation to keep on booking. It's not a confluence of events that we ever see more than once or twice a year.
5/28 Cuddyer scores
7/20 Carlos Pena scores
9/27 Jay Bruce scores
For all their offensive punch, the Tigers were rather ordinary (.253) against left-handed pitching during the regular season. Although Miguel Cabrera hit a league-leading 44 home runs, only four of them came against southpaws. And Prince Fielder had an OPS of just .808 against lefties, over 200 points lower than his OPS against right-handers. No wonder Giants manager Bruce Bochy has back-to-back left-handers on the mound to start the World Series.
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