McCann making most out of round-trippers
DETROIT -- The Orioles have pie. The Nationals have chocolate syrup. And the Tigers have scoops of dirt.
After James McCann's walk-off home run capped a 5-4 win over the White Sox at Comerica Park on Sunday, he received the customary mobbing at home plate. Meanwhile, though, several of the catcher's teammates picked up dirt from the batter's box and dumped it on him.
"I've never seen that one," McCann said. "I'd take anything after a walk-off. It's special."
McCann has hit two traditional home runs in his career, and both have been walk-offs. The first came May 21 against Houston, when he sent a Tony Sipp pitch into the left-field seats in the 11th inning. That night, he says, he didn't high five first baseman Miguel Cabrera while reaching home plate.
He made sure to celebrate appropriately Sunday.
"I knew that when I got to home plate, I had to jump and give Miggy a high five, because last time I did it, I missed him," McCann said. "So I knew I had to connect on the high five, but other than that, I don't even really remember."
On April 29, McCann scored on an inside-the-park home run, making him the only player with an inside-the-park homer and two walk-off knocks as his first three career home runs since 1932, according to Elias Sports.
The catcher does recall a number of similarities between his pair of game-winning shots. Both came on 0-2 counts; both were the third offering of the at-bat; and both pitches, he says, were splitters.
Sunday, against righty Zach Putnam, he took strike one, then swung and missed on a cutter. The next pitch was breaking toward McCann, dropping to the bottom corner of the plate, but the Detroit catcher muscled it out anyway.
"I thought it was a pretty good pitch," Putnam said. "It could have been better, but it certainly could have been a lot worse. I tip my hat to him."
Then, with his wife, in-laws and niece and nephew in the stands, McCann began his trot around the basepaths, ending 360 feet later with hugs of congratulations from his teammates.
And a little bit of dirt.
"Those are the swings that 30, 40 years from now, I'll be able to smile about," McCann said. "I won't remember the tough at-bats; I'll remember those ones."