What better way is there to announce that baseball is back than a spate of ninth-inning victories? Home-team fans witnessed walk-off wins in five cities on one night on Wednesday. In all, six different pitchers blew saves.
The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in dramatic fashion Wednesday night. Cub Louis Valbuena singled to drive in Junior Lake to stalemate their matchup with the Pirates at two in the top of the ninth. Anthony Rizzo homered in the twelfth to put the Cubs ahead. Starling Marte struck back with a single that scored Clint Barmes in the bottom of the frame. The Pirates won the game with one out in the bottom of the sixteenth on a Tony Sanchez single that sent Jose Tabata home. The teams used a combined sixteen pitchers and twenty-seven position players in the marathon affair.
Chris Heisey knocked in Brayan Pena on a pinch-hit walk-off single to help the Reds defeat the Cardinals 1-0. In more anticlimactic fashion, the White Sox beat the Twins when reliever Samuel Deduno threw a wild pitch in the bottom of the eleventh that let Leury Garcia score. The Rangers similarly enjoyed a Shin-Soo Cho walk-off walk a game after Adrian Beltre hit a winning single in the bottom of the ninth against the Phillies.
The Detroit Tigers also boast back-to-back walk-off wins. Ian Kinsler hit a walk-off single in the tenth on Wednesday night to beat the Royals 2-1. Alex Gonzalez gave Detroit a 4-3 ninth-inning victory over the Royals on Opening Day. The Tigers haven’t had back-to-back walk-off wins to start a season in more than a century.