28 September 2020

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Only 11 Games in, the Oakland Athletics Have Their 2nd Walk-Off Grand Slam of 2020

On the night of August 4th, outfielder Stephen Piscotty of the Oakland Athletics hit a walk off grand slam to defeat the Texas Rangers 5-1. Piscotty believed that he had only hit the ball far enough into the large outfield of the Oakland Coliseum but it traveled far enough to get over the center field wall for a walk-off grand slam.

Walk off grand slams are hard to come by. The 2019 MLB season only had only 3: Hunter Renfroe, Bryce Harper, and John Hicks were the 3 players to do so. Only 11 games into a 60 game season there has already been 2 and both have came from the same team, the Oakland Athletics.

The Oakland A’s got their first walk off slam on the first night of the season. In a wild night of baseball which included the first ever use of the new extra inning runner rule, the Athletics found themselves able to keep the game tied at 3-3 and got the first ever extra inning runner (LA Angels’ Shoehei Ohtani) out on the base paths to prevent the Angels from scoring. In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Athletics, Marcus Semien, began on second base facing Angels closer, Hansel Robles. Outfielder, Ramon Laureano, lead off the inning and was hit by a pitch, and then third baseman, Matt Chapman, struck out. After a wild pitch to Designated Hitter, Khris Davis, both runners were able to advance from 1st and 2nd base, to 2nd and 3rd base. With first base open and the winning run already at 3rd base, the Angels walked Davis, thus loading the bases for an easy force out at home plate. The Angels also changed pitchers and put in Hoby Milner for the lefty on lefty matchup for A’s first baseman Matt Olson. On the very first pitch Milner throws, Olson crushes it to right field. With 0 outs in the inning, it was first assumed it was hit far enough for a game winning sacrifice fly (like Piscotty’s) but it instead flew out into the right field stands, ending opening day for the Athletics to win by a score of 7-3.

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Stephen Piscotty got his walk off after a similar situation, but in the 9th inning and not the 10th. Matt Olson walked, Matt Chapman singled which advanced Olson to 2nd, and utility man Mark Canha drew a walk. After outfielder Robbie Grossman popped out, Piscotty stepped up to the plate and the rest is history. Both homered walk off grand slams on the first pitch of their at-bats to break a tie game. So far, the only other walk off home run was Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants against the San Diego Padres.

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