Watch Brian Giles' comeback-capping, walk-off grand slam and relive some early-2000s nostalgia
Reliving Brian Giles' walk-off grand slam
In addition to all of these cultural gems, the early 2000s also gave us the 2001 Pirates. That version of the Buccos may not have been the most traditionally successful ball club -- they finished in last with a 62-100 record -- but on July 28, 2001, they provided one of the most bonkers comeback victories in recent history. Don't believe us? Check out this win probability chart (via Fangraphs). (Note: these are not supposed to resemble the letter W.)
Pittsburgh was well on its way to a last-place finish when division rival Houston came to newly-opened PNC Park, and for most of the afternoon, things went according to script -- Astros cleanup man Vinny Castilla blasted three home runs, Roy Oswalt dominated, and Houston took a commanding 8-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Little did we know, that was just where Brian Giles wanted them.
'Stros reliever Michael Jackson retired the first two Pirates he faced with ease, and then it all went terribly wrong: After light-hitting second baseman Pat Meares hit a two-run dinger to cut the deficit to four, the Pirates put together two hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to bring Giles to the plate as the potential winning run. Houston called on All-Star closer/100-mph flamethrower Billy Wagner to slam the door, and then this happened:
Because of the teams he played on, Giles was one of baseball's most underrated superstars, but he slashed .309/.404/.590 with 37 homers for Pittsburgh that season. And hey, don't worry, Pirates fans -- those tough times would end soon enough: