Diamond dandies: Best AL games of 2017

December 28th, 2017

The 2017 season in Major League Baseball combined mighty swings, never-say-die grit, walk-off triumphs and edge-of-your-seat drama. At the end of a long season and one of the game's most memorable Octobers, one team was standing: The Houston Astros, who won the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
But 14 other American League teams also had their own climactic moments. In consultation with each club's beat reporter, here are the games of the year for every AL club in 2017:
Angels: 10-9 win on April 9 vs. Mariners
picked the right time to belt his first home run of the season -- and the 592nd of his record-breaking career -- with a leadoff jack in the ninth inning that sparked a seven-run comeback. The Angels batted around back to Pujols, and the veteran tied the game with a two-run single. Cliff Pennington then capped the Angels' sweep of the Mariners on the sixth walk-off hit of his career. Full recap >

Astros: 13-12 win on Oct. 29 vs. Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series
Game 5 of the World Series proved baseball can be wildly unpredictable. Fans saw seven home runs in a game that started with a duel between two Cy Young Award winners in and . Both emotions and baseballs were flying high as the Astros hit three game-tying home runs ... and then blew the lead in the ninth.
But was not giving up. The third baseman hit a walk-off single into left field off Dodgers closer , who finished the regular season with a MLB-leading 41 saves. The Astros won one of the most epic games of the Fall Classic. Full recap >

A's: 10-2 win on June 24 at Chicago
Three A's players hit their first big league homers on the same day against the White Sox, including top prospect in his MLB debut, to propel the club to a 10-2 victory. recorded his first Major League win and , and Barreto became the first set of three teammates to hit their first career homers in the same game in MLB history. Full recap >

Blue Jays: 11-10 win on July 30 vs. Angels
Steve Pearce hit his second walk-off grand slam in a span of four days to become the third player with two walk-off slams in one season and the first with two in the same week. The walk-off capped the Blue Jays' biggest and most dramatic ninth-inning comeback in franchise history, as they stormed back from a six-run deficit for an 11-10 win over the Angels. Full recap >

Indians: 3-2 win on Sept. 14 vs. Royals
The Indians' never-say-die attitude was on full display in a late-season tilt against the Royals. The Tribe was down by one run in the ninth with its historic win streak on the line when tied the score with a two-out, two-strike double. knocked the walk-off RBI double in the 10th, driving in and keeping the magical run alive at 22 straight wins. Full recap >

Mariners: 6-5 win on June 7 vs. Twins
With Seattle down to its final out, Mike Zunino hit a walk-off two-run homer off Minnesota's trusty closer to pull out a 6-5 victory. The Mariners had just five hits on the night, four being home runs, with two coming from Zunino. Full recap >

Orioles: 9-7 win on Aug. 18 vs. Angels
When he's hot, Manny Machado can't be stopped. The Orioles were down, 7-5, with the bases loaded when their star third baseman walked up to the plate, already red hot with two jacks under his sleeve. Machado eyed Angels pitcher , took a strike, and then hammered a walk-off grand slam. His seven-RBI night pulled the Orioles within two games of the Angels and Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. Full recap >

Rangers: 5-2 win on May 12 vs. A's
The Rangers' patience was rewarded for the second straight night at Globe Life Park. Texas won on a three-run, walk-off home run in a repeat act from the game prior. Joey Gallo hit a 3-2 pitch that went a projected 404 feet off the right-field foul pole, according to Statcast™, to seal the Rangers' fourth straight win. Full recap >

Rays: 8-6 win on May 28 at Minnesota
The Rays and Twins faced off in the longest marathon of the year and in the history of Target Field, battling for 6 hours and 26 minutes. Tampa Bay outlasted the home team on back-to-back homers from and in the 15th inning. By then, the Rays had smashed 74 home runs on the season. And it was only May. Full recap >

Red Sox: 12-10 win on Aug. 1 vs. Indians
Despite 's astonishing homer-robbing grab -- quite possibly standing alone as MLB's best catch of the year -- the Red Sox rallied from deficits of 5-0, 7-5 and 10-9 to win it in the ninth. was plowing through Boston's lineup, but he couldn't slam the door on . Throwing a wild pitch, the Indians closer set the stage for Vazquez, who won the game for Boston on a walk-off three-run homer. Full recap >

Royals: 4-3 win on July 19 vs. Tigers
Royals closer blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning by giving up a two-run homer to . But disappointment was turned to triumph when knocked in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth with a double and won it with a sacrifice fly. It was the beginning of a nine-game winning streak for the Royals. Full recap >

Tigers: 3-2 win on Sept. 30 at Minnesota
No Major Leaguer had played all nine positions in a game since Shane Halter did it on the final game of the 2000 season. But all that changed 17 years later. Starting in left field, Andrew Romine worked his way around the outfield and then the diamond, making his first career catching appearance in the seventh inning and pitching to one batter in the eighth before earning a standing ovation from Twins fans when he completed his turn at first base. Romine became the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in a game. Full recap >

Twins: 16-0 win on Sept. 12 vs. Padres
When hit a leadoff home run against Padres starter , he couldn't have predicted what would happen next. The Twins became the first team in MLB history to hit a home run in each of the first seven innings of a game. Minnesota hit a Target Field-record seven home runs as , (twice), , and all went deep in starter 's shutout victory. Full recap >

White Sox: 3-2 win on Aug. 10 vs. Astros
White Sox rookie put on a stellar performance against the Astros with a game-tying blast and a walk-off hit. The 22-year-old skied an opposite-field home run off Houston closer with one out in the ninth, and then he hit a walk-off single off  in the 11th. It was the first walk-off hit of Moncada's career, and the smile as he rounded first base was only the beginning of his celebration. Full recap >

Yankees: 6-4 win on Oct. 17 vs. Astros in Game 4 of the ALCS
Leave it to the AL Rookie of the Year to spark a 4-0 comeback and keep New York's postseason hopes alive. The Yankees began the seventh inning just like they started the game, with runs hard to come by. However, rewrote the script with one swing of the bat, smashing a solo homer to put New York on the board. The Yankees' young core rallied behind the big man, scoring four runs in the eighth to take the 6-4 lead, capped by a two-run double by . The Yankees defeated the eventual World Series-champion Astros in their loudest win of the season. Full recap >