Witness the first walk-off walk of the season courtesy of Brad Miller
Saturday night brought us the first walk-off walk of the 2017 Major League season in the 11th inning of the Rays' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. These events are, understandably, quite rare. In fact, according to Baseball-Reference, only seven occurred all of last season.
Given that a walk-off walk requires the bases to be loaded, let's start by visiting how the game got to the point where a walk could win the game.
Mallex Smith led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a double and advanced to third base on a Tim Beckham sacrifice bunt.
The Blue Jays then wanted to set up a forceout at home plate to lessen the chances of Smith scoring with his speed, so, they intentionally walked not only Corey Dickerson, but also the following batter, Kevin Kiermaier. Due to Major League Baseball's new rules, the Blue Jays were able to put both of them on base without throwing a single pitch.
At first, it looked like the strategy might pay off as reliever Casey Lawrence got Evan Longoria to strike out on three pitches.
Brad Miller then came up to the plate. Lawrence opened the at-bat with a ball, and, after alternating balls and strikes, found himself in a 3-2 count with Miller. In a situation where Lawrence absolutely had to throw a strike, the next pitch -- the sixth of the at-bat -- was a fastball outside the zone, allowing Smith to skip his way to home plate.
If history is any guide, we won't see many walk-off walks this season. So let's appreciate the first.