Torii Hunter

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Posted by bender 05/01/2009 @ 22:14

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News headlines
Now is the Angels' time to make a move - Los Angeles Times
Center fielder Torii Hunter, the rock in the middle of lots of crumbling so far, was more direct. "You can't think you have plenty of time, you can't say it's still early," he said. "You do that and before you know it, it's August....
Scioscia vents after Halos get handled - MLB.com
"Well-deserved," Torii Hunter said in reference to the tongue-lashing that followed another kind of lashing fueled by homers from Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Carlos Pena. "That's a bad game," Scioscia said....
Angels' Torii Hunter moves up a bit in All-Star voting - Los Angeles Times
Chris Carlson / AP Angels center fielder Torii Hunter watches his three-run homer against the Dodgers on May 23. He is in fifth place among outfielders, trailing Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who is in third, by about 134000 votes. By Kevin Baxter Reporting...
Angels' Torii Hunter sits out with groin injury - Los Angeles Times
Angels center fielder Torii Hunter gets ready for batting practice last week. He missed Sunday's game in Detroit because of a groin injury. The center fielder says he's experienced soreness for two weeks, but the discomfort was pronounced when the...
Twins could use leadership and toughness - The Queensberry Rules
By Leslie Monteiro Listening to the Matt Thomas show on KSTP AM1500 on Monday night, Matt was moaning about the Twins missing Torii Hunter's leadership by citing that the former Twins centerfielder would not tolerate this team losing many games on the...
Torri Hunter's defense, offense lead Angels over Dodgers - Los Angeles Times
By Mike DiGiovanna You know Torii Hunter hit that Dodger Stadium outfield wall hard in the fourth inning Sunday when the Angels center fielder had the wind -- and the words -- knocked right out of him. Hunter is one of the most personable players in...
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on second with one out and Torii Hunter due up. Out: Torii Hunter struck out swinging. Runner on second with two outs and Kendry Morales due up. Out: Kendry Morales grounded out first to pitcher to end the inning. Out: Josh Anderson grounded out...
Offensive outburst leads Angels to win - Anaheim Angels
Torii Hunter, with Abreu on first, smoked a two-run home run to left field. Angels starter Matt Palmer, while not overpowering, pitched six innings giving up 10 hits and three earned runs. Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com....
Hunter, Mathis heroes of 12-inning thriller - Press-Enterprise
Torii Hunter made his second exceptional, game-saving catch in five days. Jeff Mathis drove in Reggie Willits from second base in the bottom of the 12th, and the Angels celebrated their ninth win in 11 games. The Angels were quick to revel in their...
Angels take 'Spoon' in 12th - Sumter Item
Then, Torii Hunter burst onto the scene with dazzling catches in centerfield for the Minnesota Twins. After the 2007 season, the free agent Hunter signed with the Angels. Since then, Witherspoon has kept his eye on the American League West team....

Torii Hunter

Hunter while playing for the Minnesota Twins in 2007

Torii Kedar Hunter (pronounced /ˈtɔri/; born July 18, 1975 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Hunter has shown his athletic ability, having taken away many home runs throughout his 11 year baseball career for the Minnesota Twins by "climbing the fence" in the outfield. ESPN commentators have called Hunter a "daily web gem," referring to ESPN's nightly highlight reel. He has won eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his defensive prowess playing the Center Field position.

Torii Hunter was selected as the Twins' first-round pick in 1993 out of high school, and made his first appearance with the Twins as a pinch runner in Baltimore on August 22, 1997. It was not until 1999 that Hunter began starting regularly, playing in 135 games for the Twins. He finished with only one error in 292 chances in the outfield.

Hunter exploded onto the scene in the beginning of April in 2000, but his batting average dropped to .207 by the end of May. Hunter was subsequently sent down to Triple-A to work on his mechanics at the plate; however with Hunter's new approach at the plate, he caught fire in the month of June, capping it with a two-home run, seven-RBI game and being named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week and Player of the Month. After a 16-game hitting streak, four consecutive games with home runs and three grand slams, Hunter was recalled by the Twins on July 28. Hunter was named both Best Defensive Outfielder and Most Exciting Player in Pacific Coast League by Baseball America for 2000.

In 2001, Hunter led the Twins in at bats, home runs and outfield assists (with 14 - tied for second best in the league), and was second in RBI and total bases, leading the Twins to their first winning season since 1992. Hunter led all major league center fielders in range factor (3.29), and was named Best Defensive Outfielder in the American League by Baseball America. He also won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2001.

In 2002, Hunter began to post near MVP numbers, and was a serious contender for the award a good portion of the year. In the month of April, he went 39-105 (a .371 average) with nine home runs and 20 RBI, winning American League Player of the Month honors.

Hunter was selected by the fans to his first All-Star Game, in Milwaukee in 2002 , becoming the first Twin since Kirby Puckett in 1995 to start an All-Star game in center field. One of the biggest moments came in the first inning, when, with two outs, Barry Bonds sent what appeared to be a towering home run to right-center field. Hunter, who had built a reputation for his outfield thievery in the American League, showed off his talents - jumped and caught the ball in a stunning spectacle. He was playfully lifted by Bonds en route to the dugout: a show of respect for Hunter's defensive play.

After the game, when asked about the play, Chicago Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa dubbed him "Spider-Man".

Although there were no awards given at the All-Star game, because the game ended in a tie, the memorable catch was later awarded as the Best Defensive Play of the Year by the fans.

On July 18, after being hit by a pitch, Hunter threw back the baseball directly at Cleveland pitcher Danys Baez and was suspended by the league for three games.

However, Hunter, along with an improved team and solid bullpen pitching, led a resurgence in the latter half of the season which powered the Twins to win the American League Central Division. The team would advance to the ALCS, where they would lose to the Anaheim Angels 4 games to 1. The Angels went on to win their first World Series Championship.

Despite losing in the ALCS, it was still a very good year for the ballclub, and by far the best year for Hunter. He led the club in home runs, RBI, and stolen bases, and was tied for the lead in games and doubles. Hunter won the team's Calvin R. Griffith Award as Most Valuable Twin for 2002. He ended the season a respectable sixth in the MVP voting, and also earned his second Gold Glove in center field. Hunter was additionally voted baseball's Best Defensive Player Award for 2002 by the fans.

Hunter struggled offensively in 2003. Although he played in a career high 154 games, he often struggled at the plate, achieving an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .763 and a batting average of just .250, .039 lower than in 2002. He stole just six bases, while being thrown out 7 times, easily the worst ratio of his career. His defense was still strong enough to win his third straight Gold Glove for his play in center field.

Hunter missed much of the 2005 season after breaking his ankle and tearing ligaments when he attempted to scale the right field wall in Fenway Park on July 29. Despite playing essentially only half a season, Hunter was awarded his fifth consecutive Gold Glove.

On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Hunter was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.

On the last day of the regular season, Hunter hit his career-high 31st home run, helping the Twins to their fourth division title in five years.

On October 10, The Twins notified Hunter that they had picked up his $12 million option for the 2007 season, keeping him from becoming a free agent.

After turning down a three-year, $45 million deal in August 2007 from the Twins, Hunter went on to sign the largest contract offered to him. On November 21, he signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim worth $90 million. He replaced Gary Matthews Jr. as the everyday center fielder.

During the end of the 2006 season, the Kansas City Royals swept the Detroit Tigers to push the Twins to the AL Central title. Afterwards, Hunter promised champagne to the Royals as a sign of gratitude. He purchased four $500 bottles of Dom Perignon and sent them to the Royals' locker room before the start of a game between the clubs. Giving a gift to a member of a team in exchange for beating another team violates MLB rules - specifically, MLB Rule 21-b. Neither Hunter nor Twins general manager Terry Ryan were aware of the rule before the exchange. The Royals organization returned the champagne.

On June 6, in reaction to comments by Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield concerning the future of African-Americans in baseball, Hunter suggested on a Fox Sports Radio show that the proliferation of Latino players in Major League Baseball restricted opportunities for black players, stating that "Ten years from now, you'll see no blacks at all" in the Major Leagues.

Hunter began the 2007 season with one of the fastest starts to a season in his career, featuring a 23-game hitting streak starting in mid-April and ending on May 10. However, Hunter insists that he does not care about individual stats or streaks, he only cares about winning games.

Hunter hit three grand slams in 2007: April 17 in Seattle, May 18 in Milwaukee, and August 15 again in Seattle.

Hunter was selected as an All-Star for the 2007 All-Star game in San Francisco, California, making it in on the players ballot. Hunter declined to sign a three-year $45 million deal with Minnesota in August. On October 27, Hunter won the Players Choice Award for Marvin Miller Man of the Year. On October 29, Hunter filed for free agency.

On November 6, it was announced that Hunter had been awarded his seventh consecutive Gold Glove Award. Hunter then received the award in the opening series against the Minnesota Twins, his former team.

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2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

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The 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 73rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues that make up Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers of the National League. The game resulted in a 7-7 tie. The next year home field advantage in the World Series would be awarded to the winning league.

The roster selection for the 2002 game marked the inaugural All-Star Final Vote competition (then known as the "The All-Star 30th Man" competition). Johnny Damon and Andruw Jones represented the American and National Leagues as a result of this contest.

National League starting pitcher Curt Schilling was sharp early on, striking out three through two innings pitched. In the bottom of the first, Barry Bonds hit a deep fly ball off AL starter Derek Lowe, which looked to be deep enough to be a home run. Instead, center fielder Torii Hunter reached over the wall and caught Bonds' drive, denying the NL an early lead. Bonds playfully picked up Hunter as the NL took the field the next inning.

The NL would get on the board in the bottom of the second, when a Mike Piazza groundout scored Vladimir Guerrero from third. They'd score three more runs the next inning, when Todd Helton singled home Jimmy Rollins. Barry Bonds would get revenge for having his first inning home run taken away by belting a two-run shot to give the NL a 4-0 lead. The AL would finally score in the fourth, on the strength of a Manny Ramírez RBI single.

The AL would cut the NL lead in half in the fifth, when Alfonso Soriano hit a solo homer off Eric Gagné to cut the lead to 4-2. The NL got a run back with Damian Miller's RBI double to put the NL up 5-2. The AL put together a big inning in the seventh to take the lead. An RBI groundout from Garret Anderson, an RBI single from Tony Batista, and a two-run double from Paul Konerko scored four runs for the AL, giving them a 6-5 lead after their half of the seventh.

The NL regained the lead in bottom of the seventh, on a two-run single from Lance Berkman, which scored Mike Lowell and Damian Miller. The AL quickly tied the game back up in the eighth with Omar Vizquel's RBI triple. Neither team scored after that in regulation, and the game went into extra innings. Vicente Padilla and Freddy Garcia each pitched scoreless innings in the tenth and eleventh, keeping the game tied.

Because Padilla and Garcia were the last pitchers available on each team, there was concern about how the game would continue. AL and NL managers Joe Torre and Bob Brenly met with Commissioner Bud Selig in the middle of the eleventh inning to discuss the situation. In a move that drew criticism, it was ruled that if the NL did not score in the bottom of the eleventh, the game would be declared a tie. The crowd in attendance roundly jeered the decision, and chants of "Let them play" were heard. Garcia retired the side in the eleventh, and the game ended in a 7-7 tie. No MVP award was given.

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2006 Minnesota Twins season

The Minnesota Twins 2006 season ended with Minnesota finishing the regular season as champions of the American League Central Division, but were swept in three games by the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 American League Division Series.

The Twins stumbled out of the gate after the death of Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett in late March, accumulating a dismal 25-33 record by June 7. Around that time, the team dropped underperforming veterans like Tony Batista, Juan Castro, and Kyle Lohse, replacing them with talented rookies from the Rochester Red Wings. The Twins went 9-1 in their next ten games, evening their record at 34-34. Interleague play was particularly generous to the team; the Twins had Major League Baseball's best Interleague record at 16 wins and 2 losses. By July 26 the team had won 44 of 52 games, leaving them tied with the White Sox at 59-41, but still 8.5 games behind the division-leading Tigers.

As the season neared its conclusion, the Twins continued to put distance between them and the White Sox, while gaining on the Tigers. A key series starting on September 7 saw the Twins take three out of four from the Tigers. And after a commanding win in Boston on September 19, the Twins found themselves within a half game of the Central-leading Tigers. On September 25, the Twins beat Kansas City 8-1 to secure an American League playoff berth.

The Tigers led the season series, so a tie at the end of the season between the Tigers and Twins would have meant the Twins get the wild card. Instead, the Tigers were swept by 100-game-losers Kansas City to end the season, and the Twins took one of three from the White Sox, giving the Twins their fourth AL Central title in five years. It was the first time in major league history that a team clinched on the last day of the season after never having held sole possession of first place.

For the first time since 1987, the Twins had legitimate power hitters in Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter, and Michael Cuddyer. On August 9, Morneau became the first Twin to hit 30 or more home runs since 1987, when Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, and Kent Hrbek did it.

Morneau finished the season with 34 home runs, 130 runs batted in, and a .321 average and was named American League MVP.

Hunter enjoyed a late season surge to also reach the 30 home run mark. On September 25, he homered off Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke in the bottom of the 7th inning and became the second Twin to hit 30 home runs in 2006. He finished the season with 31 home runs and 98 runs batted in.

Michael Cuddyer also had a breakout season as the Twins' cleanup hitter. He did not start the season as a regular player, but eventually replaced the ineffective opening day right fielder, Jason Kubel. By June, he was hitting fourth in the lineup, and he finished the season with 24 home runs, 109 runs batted in, scored 102 runs, and hit for a .284 average.

Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer may have finally earned the nickname "The M&M Boys", that had been prematurely applied to them early in the 2005 season. (This was the nickname applied to Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in the early 1960s.) Not only did Mauer win the American League batting title, but he led the major leagues with a .347 average, finishing ahead of National League champion Freddy Sanchez. Mauer was the first catcher to lead either the American League or the majors in hitting. Two catchers did win the National League batting title. Bubbles Hargrave of the Cincinnati Reds did it in 1926. Ernie Lombardi led the National League twice: once for the Reds in 1938 and once for the Boston Braves in 1942. However, neither catcher won the major league title.

These strong hitters were complemented by the top and bottom of the Twins' order, where the players gave the hitters plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. Midway through the season, the Twins opted for a lineup that included Jason Tyner batting eighth, Jason Bartlett ninth, Luis Castillo first, and Nick Punto second. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that these players are like four leadoff hitters: all are fast and hit for average but not power. All four hit between .290 (Punto) and .312 (Tyner), but hit a combined six home runs.

The Twins led the Major Leagues in batting average with a team average of .287.

For much of the season, the Twins' starting rotation was its most apparent weakness. This is surprising, because the 2005 Minnesota Twins had one of the strongest rotations in baseball. The team started the season with a rotation of Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse, and Scott Baker. By September, only Santana could be counted on for a full, effective start.

Baker was not effective and was quickly demoted to the minors, though he came back a couple times and had a couple competent starts. Lohse was ineffective, surly, and traded to the Cincinnati Reds midway through the season. Radke started slowly but seemed to find his form, providing some consistency to the number two spot before being sidelined with a torn labrum and a stress fracture in his right shoulder. Silva was unable to find his 2005 form, finishing the season with an ERA of 5.94. He did make a few strong starts in September before regressing.

On May 19, talented rookie Francisco Liriano entered the starting rotation. He pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth, finishing with a 12-3 record and a minuscule ERA of 2.16. Unfortunately, he was sidelined after the All-Star break with elbow problems. He did not pitch at all in 2007, as he was recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Boof Bonser had an up-and-down season, but finished strong with a 7-6 record and 4.22 ERA. This earned him a spot in the postseason rotation. Matt Garza was the team's top pitching prospect, but was inconsistent during his first partial year in the majors.

The Twins had one of baseball's best bullpens. Dennys Reyes, signed to a minor-league deal during the offseason, provided a pleasant surprise with an excellent season as the Twins' sole left-handed reliever. Right-handers Jesse Crain and Juan Rincón set the stage throughout the season for closer Joe Nathan, with homegrown rookie Pat Neshek contributing some solid innings after being recalled from the minor leagues in July. Pitchers like Willie Eyre and Matt Guerrier ate up innings when the starters faltered.

The Twins finished tied for second place in the American League with a .986 fielding percentage.. The team's defense was noticeably stronger when the left side of the infield was revamped in June, when the team traded shortstop Juan Castro to Cincinnati and released third baseman Tony Batista. Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto stepped into those roles, providing an immediate upgrade.

After the Twins won the division, the American League playoff matchups were decided as follows: number two seed Minnesota hosting number three seed Oakland, and number one seed New York hosting the wild card Detroit.

The Twins were defeated by Oakland in a three-game sweep, ending their playoff run for 2006. The Twins got great starts from both Johan Santana and Boof Bonser (who made his first post season appearance) at the Metrodome. After losing game 1 by the score of 3-2, the Twins came back to even the score at 2 in game 2. With two outs and a runner on first in the top of the 7th inning, Mark Kotsay hit a line drive to center field that Torii Hunter made a valiant dive for. Unfortunately, the ball sailed past him all the way to the wall, resulting in an inside-the-park home run for Kotsay. This play seemed to take all the momentum away from the Twins. The Twins never led in any game in this series.

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2005 Minnesota Twins season

Twins 40th Anniversary of 1965 World Series.

Coming into the year, the 2005 Minnesota Twins were favored to go on and win their division. Unfortunately, a weak offense and injuries (most notably to Torii Hunter) prevented this from coming to fruition. The disappointing finish led manager Ron Gardenhire to reshuffle his coaching staff following the season. The team finished sixteen games behind the World Champion Chicago White Sox. The Twins have never won four straight division titles in their 104-year franchise history.

The Twins got off to an average start. However, the Chicago White Sox had a fantastic start to the season. The Twins tried to stay close in the standings, but their offense just wasn't enough. The Twins (83-79) finished in 3rd place behind the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians. The White Sox went on to earn the division title, their first trip to the playoffs since 2000, and their first World Series title since 1917.

Joe Mauer led the team with a .294 batting average, Justin Morneau led the team in runs batted in with 79, but Mauer hit only 9 home runs and 55 RBI, while Morneau hit only .239.

These problems were endemic to the team. No starter bat over .300 or hit over 25 home runs; however, Matthew LeCroy managed to hit 17 home runs in part-time duty.

The team’s offensive struggles led to an uncertain lineup, with many defensive positions lacking regular starters. The team experimented by bringing in Seattle Mariners infielder Bret Boone to the fill the void at second base, but he lasted for only 53 at-bats, hitting .170. The weak hitting led to hitting coach Scott Ullger being reassigned to third base coach after the season was over.

Twins pitchers performed well in 2005. The staff was led by All-Star Johan Santana (16-7, 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts) and All-Star closer Joe Nathan (43 saves, 2.70 ERA). Unfortunately, the weak hitting prevented any other starter from winning ten games. (Jesse Crain, in a stellar year out of the bullpen, did go 12-5.) The anemic offense also may have cost Santana a second Cy Young Award, as he finished with only sixteen victories.

The top end of the rotation -- Santana, Brad Radke, Kyle Lohse, and Carlos Silva – pitched well. Silva in particular had what seemed to be a breakout year, walking only nine batters during the entire season. Many bullpen pitchers had outstanding years, in particular Crain, Juan Rincón (2.45 ERA), J.C. Romero (3.47), and Matt Guerrier (3.39).

In early May, the pitching staff was shaken when Major League Baseball announced that Juan Rincón would be suspended for ten days for violating the sport's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Rincón pitched well both before and after this occurred.

Like his predecessor Tom Kelly, Gardenhire emphasized baseball fundamentals like defense. Despite Hunter’s injury, he still won a Gold Glove in center field. Joe Mauer established a reputation as an outstanding defensive catcher, with a .993 fielding percentage. Morneau, not known for his defense, surprised many with a .994 average at first. Luis Rivas was a solid defensive second baseman, but his offensive shortcomings became too much to bear, leading the team to experiment with Boone and Nick Punto at the position. In contrast to Rivas, Michael Cuddyer saw a majority of the time at third base, but he was a defensive liability at the position. Jason Bartlett and Juan Castro split time at shortstop, with Castro being the superior defensive player. Shannon Stewart and Jacque Jones both had .985 fielding percentages in the corner outfield positions. Lew Ford saw time at all three outfield positions.

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Home run

Barry Bonds (right) holds the officially recognized single-season and all-time home run records in Major League Baseball

In baseball, a home run (abbreviated HR) is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to circle all the bases, ending at home plate and scoring runs for himself and each runner who was already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. In modern baseball, the feat is typically achieved by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles (or making contact with either foul pole) without first touching the ground or outfield fence, resulting in an automatic home run. Circling the bases while the ball is in play on the field, an "inside-the-park" home run, is rare in modern baseball.

When a home run is scored, the batter is also credited with a hit and a run scored, and an RBI for each runner that scores, including himself. Likewise, the pitcher is recorded as having given up a hit, a run for each runner that scores including the batter, and an earned run each for the batter and for all baserunners who did not initially reach base on error, except for the runs scored by any runners who reached base while facing an earlier pitcher are charged to that pitcher.

The most common type of home run involves hitting the ball over the outfield fence, in flight, in fair territory, i.e., out of the playing field, without it being caught or deflected back by an outfielder into the playing field. This is sometimes called a home run "out of the ballpark", although that term is frequently used to indicate a blow that completely clears any outfield seating.

A home run accomplished in any of the above manners is an automatic home run. The ball is considered dead, and the batter and any preceding runners cannot be put out at any time while running the bases. However, if one or more runners fail to touch a base or one runner passes another before reaching home plate, that runner or runners can be called out on appeal.

An automatic home run counts for the same number of runs whether it cleared the fence by 1-foot or by 200 feet, but the more impressive a home run's distance is, the more superlatives and colorful adjectives are likely to be applied to it by the media: "tattooed", "hammered", "drilled", "towering", "tape measure", "in orbit", etc.

An inside-the-park home run occurs when a batter hits the ball into play and is able to circle the bases before the fielders can put him out. Unlike with an outside-the-park home run, the batter-runner and all preceding runners are liable to be put out by the defensive team at any time while running the bases.

In the early days of baseball, outfields were relatively much more spacious, reducing the likelihood of an over-the-fence home run, while increasing the likelihood of an inside-the-park home run, as a ball getting past an outfielder typically had more distance that it could roll before a fielder could track it down.

With outfields much less spacious and more uniformly designed than in the game's early days, inside-the-park home runs are now a rarity. They are usually the result of a ball being hit by a fast runner, coupled with an outfielder either misjudging the flight of the ball (e.g., diving and missing) or the ball taking an unexpected bounce, either way sending the ball into open space in the outfield and thereby allowing the batter-runner to circle the bases before the defensive team can put him out.

If any defensive play on an inside-the-park home run is labeled an error by the official scorer, a home run is not scored; instead, it is scored as a single, double, etc., and the batter-runner and any applicable preceding runners are said to have taken all additional bases on error. All runs scored on such a play, however, still count.

An example of a diving miss was committed by Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins in Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS vs. the Oakland Athletics at the Metrodome. He came in on a fly ball hit by Mark Kotsay, dove and completely missed the ball. It rolled behind him toward the center field area, with a fence 408 feet (124 m) from home plate, while Kotsay dashed around the bases.

An example of an unexpected bounce occurred during the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 10, 2007. Ichiro Suzuki of the American League team hit a fly ball off the right-center field wall, which caromed in the opposite direction from where National League right fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. was expecting it to go. By the time the ball was relayed, Ichiro had already crossed the plate standing up. This was the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history, and led to Ichiro being named the game's MVP.

The most famous post-season inside the park home run was probably the one hit by Mule Haas of the Philadelphia Athletics in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. In the eighth inning, the Chicago Cubs led 8-0 and were six outs away from bringing the Series to a 2-2 tie, until disaster struck. The late afternoon, autumn sun angle at Shibe tended to be almost directly in the eyes of the center fielder. This fact, along with a center field corner that was about 470 feet (143 m) from home plate, caught up to Cubs center fielder Hack Wilson, who lost Haas' fly ball in the sun. It sailed past Wilson, allowing Haas to round the bases while the short and chunky Wilson futilely chased after it. This punctuated a 10-run inning that effectively doomed the Cubs in that Series.

These types of home runs are characterized by the specific game situation in which they occur, and can theoretically occur on either an outside-the-park or inside-the-park home run.

Home runs are often characterized by the number of runners on base at the time, if any. A home run hit with the bases empty is seldom called a "one-run homer", but rather a "solo" homer. With one or two runners on base, the home runs are usually called "two-run homers" or "three-run homers". The term "four-run homer" is seldom used. Instead, it is nearly always called a "grand slam".

A grand slam occurs when the bases are "loaded" (that is, there are base runners standing at first, second, and third base) and the batter hits a home run. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge. An inside-the-park grand slam is a grand slam without the ball leaving the field, and it is very rare, due to the relative rarity of loading the bases along with the significant rarity (nowadays) of inside-the-park home runs.

On July 25, 1956 Roberto Clemente became the only MLB player to have ever scored a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in a 9-8 Pittsburgh Pirates win over the Chicago Cubs, at Forbes Field.

A walk-off home run is a home run hit by the home team in the bottom of the ninth inning, any extra inning, or other scheduled final inning, which gives the home team the lead and thereby ends the game. The term is attributed to Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley, so named because after the run is scored, the players can "walk off" the field. The name initially meant that the pitcher walked off the field with his head hung in shame, but changed over time to mean that the batter, by necessity of the home team, would walk off the field to the cheers of the crowd. An ultimate grand slam is a specific type of walk-off home run (see grand slam above). This type of home run is also called "sayonara home run," "sayonara" meaning "good-bye" in Japanese.

Two World Series have ended via the "walk-off" home run. The first was the 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit a 9th inning solo home run in the 7th game of the series off New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry to give the Pirates the World Championship. The second time was the 1993 World Series when Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays hit a 9th inning 3-run home run off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams in Game 6 of the series.

Such a home run can also be called a "sudden death" or "sudden victory" home run. That usage has lessened as "walk-off home run" has gained favor. Along with Mazeroski's 1960 shot, the most famous walk-off or sudden-death homer would probably be the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" hit by Bobby Thomson to win the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.

The term "back-to-back" is a colloquialism for "consecutive", specifically referring to two like events occurring consecutively. One example "back-to-back" in general is winning two consecutive championships.

In baseball, back-to-back can refer to two consecutive players hitting a home run, or it could refer to an individual hitting home runs in two consecutive at bats. The former usage is probably more common.

When two consecutive batters each hit a home run, this is described as back-to-back home runs. It is still considered back-to-back even if both batters hit their home runs off of different pitchers. A third batter hitting a home run is commonly referred to as back-to-back-to-back, although at that point the anatomical analogy no longer works. Four home runs in a row by consecutive batters has only occurred six times in the history of Major League Baseball. Following convention, this is called back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The most recent occurrence was on August 14, 2008, when the Chicago White Sox hit four in a row against the Kansas City Royals in U.S. Cellular Field as Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe homered off pitchers Joel Peralta (the first three) and Robinson Tejada. Two pitchers have surrendered back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs; Paul Foytack on July 31, 1963, and Chase Wright on April 22, 2007.

Come-from-behind back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs occurred on April 22, 2007 and September 18, 2006. On April 22, 2007 the Boston Red Sox were trailing the New York Yankees 3-0 when Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back Home Runs to put them up 4-3. They eventually went on to win the game 7-6 after a 3 Run Home Run by Mike Lowell in the bottom of the 7th inning. On September 18, 2006 trailing 9-5 to the San Diego Padres in the 9th inning, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs to tie the game (The Dodgers won the game in the 10th, off a walk off home run by Nomar Garciaparra).

J.D. Drew has been part of 2 different sets of Back to Back to Back to Back Home Runs.

Simple back-to-back home runs are a relatively frequent occurrence. If a pitcher gives up a homer, he might have his concentration broken, and might alter his normal approach in an attempt to "make up for it" by striking out the next batter with some fastballs. Sometimes the next batter will be expecting that, and will capitalize on it. A notable back-to-back home run of that type in World Series play involved "Babe Ruth's called shot" in 1932, which was accompanied by various Ruthian theatrics, yet the pitcher, Charlie Root, was allowed to stay in the game. He delivered just one more pitch, which Lou Gehrig drilled out of the park for a back-to-back shot, after which Root was removed from the game.

In Game 3 of the 1976 NLCS, George Foster and Johnny Bench hit back-to-back homers in the last of the ninth off Ron Reed to tie the game. The Series-winning run was scored later in the inning.

Another notable pair of back-to-back home runs occurred on September 14, 1990, when Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. hit back-to-back home runs, off Kirk McCaskill, the only father-and-son duo to do so in Major League history.

Likewise, individuals hitting home runs in consecutive at bats is not unusual, but three or more is rare. The record for consecutive home runs by a batter under any circumstances is 4.

Of the fifteen players (through 2006) who have hit 4 in one game, six have hit them consecutively. 28 other batters have hit four consecutive across two games.

Bases on balls do not count as at-bats, and Ted Williams holds the record for consecutive home runs across the most games, 4 in four games played, during September 17-22, 1957, for the Red Sox. Williams hit a pinch-hit homer on the 17th; walked as a pinch-hitter on the 18th; there was no game on the 19th; hit another pinch-homer on the 20th; homered and then was lifted for a pinch-runner after at least one walk, on the 21st; and homered after at least one walk on the 22nd. All in all, he had 4 walks interspersed among his 4 homers.

In World Series play, Reggie Jackson was the most recent to hit a record three in one Series game, the final game in 1977. Those were consecutive in his first three at bats. He had also hit one in his last at bat the previous game, so he owns the record for consecutive homers across two Series games, which again is 4.

Nomar Garciaparra holds the record for consecutive home runs in the shortest time in terms of innings: 3 homers in 2 innings, on July 23, 2002, for the Boston Red Sox.

An offshoot of hitting for the cycle, a "home run cycle" is where a player hits a solo, 2-run, 3-run, and grand slam home run all in one game. This is an extremely rare feat, as it requires the batter to not only hit four home runs in a game (which itself has only occurred 15 times in the Major Leagues), but also to hit those home runs with the specific number of runners already on base. Although it is a rare accomplishment, it is largely dependent on circumstances outside the player's control, such as his preceding teammates' ability to get on base, as well as the order in which he comes to bat in any particular inning.

Though multiple home run cycles have been recorded in collegiate baseball, the only home run cycle in a professional baseball game belongs to Tyrone Horne, who stroked four long balls for the minor league, Double-A Arkansas Travelers in a game against the San Antonio Missions on July 27, 1998. Brian Sprout, a former St. Olaf College Ole, Division III All-American and former minor leaguer, once hit for the home run cycle in order. In a game back in 2002 against Augsburg College, Brian hit a solo, 2-run homer, 3 run homer and grand slam in 4 consecutive at bats. This is the only time in history that such a feat was accomplished. A major league player has come close to hitting for the home run cycle twice. The first was on April 26, 2005 when Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit 3 home runs off Los Angeles Angels pitcher Bartolo Colón. Rodriguez hit a 3-run home run, 2-run home run, and a grand slam in the first, third, and fourth innings, respectively. He later, in the bottom of the eighth inning, just missed a solo home run, lining out to Jeff DaVanon in deep center field. The second was on May 16, 2008 when Jayson Werth of the Philadelphia Phillies hit 3 home runs off Toronto Blue Jays pitchers David Purcey and Jesse Litsch. Werth hit a 3-run home run, a grand slam, and a solo home run in the second, third, and fifth innings, respectively.

In the early days of the game, when the ball was less lively and the ballparks generally had very large outfields, most home runs were of the inside-the-park variety. The first home run ever hit in the National League was by Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago Cubs), in 1876. The home "run" was literally descriptive. Home runs over the fence were rare, and only in ballparks where a fence was fairly close. Hitters were discouraged from trying to hit home runs, with the conventional wisdom being that if they tried to do so they would simply fly out. This was a serious concern in the 19th century, because in baseball's early days a ball caught after one bounce was still an out. The emphasis was on place-hitting and what is now called "manufacturing runs" or "small ball".

The home run's place in baseball changed dramatically when the live-ball era began after World War I. First, the materials and manufacturing processes improved significantly, making the ball somewhat more lively. Batters such as Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby took full advantage of rules changes that were instituted during the 1920s, particularly prohibition of the spitball, and the requirement that balls be replaced when worn or dirty. Along with the baseball being easier to see and capable of being hit farther, as the game's popularity boomed more outfield seating was built, shrinking the size of the outfield and increasing the chances of a long fly ball resulting in a home run. The teams with the sluggers, typified by the New York Yankees, became the championship teams, and other teams had to change their focus from the "inside game" to the "power game" in order to keep up.

Prior to 1931, a ball that bounced over an outfield fence during a major league game was considered a home run. The rule was changed to require the ball to clear the fence on the fly, and balls that reached the seats on a bounce became ground rule doubles in most parks. A carryover of the old rule is that if a player deflects a ball over the outfield fence without it touching the ground, it is a home run.

Also, until approximately that time, the ball had to not only go over the fence in fair territory, but to land in the bleachers in fair territory or to still be visibly fair when disappearing behind a wall. The rule stipulated "fair when last seen" by the umpires. Photos from that era in ballparks, such as the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, show ropes strung from the foul poles to the back of the bleachers, or a second "foul pole" at the back of the bleachers, in a straight line with the foul line, as a visual aid for the umpire. Ballparks still use a visual aid much like the ropes; a net or screen attached to the foul poles on the fair side has replaced ropes. As with American football, where a touchdown once required a literal "touch down" of the ball in the end zone but now only requires the "breaking of the plane" of the goal line, in baseball the ball need only "break the plane" of the fence in fair territory (unless the balls is caught by a player who is in play, in which case the batter is called out).

Babe Ruth's 60th home run in 1927 was somewhat controversial, because it landed barely in fair territory in the stands down the right field line. Ruth lost a number of home runs in his career due to the when-last-seen rule. Bill Jenkinson, in The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, estimates that Ruth lost at least 50 and as many as 78 in his career due to this rule.

Further, the rules once stipulated that an over-the-fence home run in a sudden-victory situation would only count for as many bases as was necessary to "force" the winning run home. For example, if a team trailed by two runs with the bases loaded, and the batter hit a fair ball over the fence, it only counted as a triple, because the runner immediately ahead of him had technically already scored the game-winning run. That rule was changed in the 1920s as home runs became increasingly frequent and popular. Babe Ruth's career total of 714 would have been one higher had that rule not been in effect in the early part of his career.

The all-time, verified professional baseball record for home runs is held by Sadaharu Oh, a former player and manager of the Yomiuri Giants and current manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan's league which is called Nippon Professional Baseball. Oh holds the all-time home run world record, having hit 868 home runs in his career.

In Major League Baseball, the record is 762, held by Barry Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's record on August 7, 2007, when he hit his 756th home run at AT&T Park. Only five other major league players have hit as many as 600: Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey, Jr. (612 and counting) and Sammy Sosa (609). The single season record is 73, set by Barry Bonds in 2001.

Negro League slugger Josh Gibson's Baseball Hall of Fame plaque says he hit "almost 800" home runs in his career. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Gibson's lifetime home run total at 800. Gibson's true total is not known, in part due to inconsistent record keeping in the Negro Leagues. The 1993 edition of the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia attempted to compile a set of Negro League records, and subsequent work has expanded on that effort. Those records demonstrate that Gibson and Ruth were of comparable power. The 1993 book had Gibson hitting 146 home runs in the 501 "official" Negro League games they were able to account for in his 17-year career, about 1 homer every 3.4 games. Babe Ruth, in 22 seasons (several of them in the dead-ball era), hit 714 in 2503 games, or 1 homer every 3.5 games. The large gap in the numbers for Gibson reflect the fact that Negro League clubs played relatively far fewer league games and many more "barnstorming" or exhibition games during the course of a season, than did the major league clubs of that era.

Other legendary home run hitters include Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle (who on September 10, 1960, mythically hit "the longest home run ever" at an estimated distance of 643 feet (196 m), although this was measured after the ball stopped rolling), Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt, Dave Kingman, Sammy Sosa (who has hit 60 or more home runs in a season 3 times but has never led the league in that category), Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Eddie Mathews. The longest verifiable home run distance is about 575 feet (175 m), by Babe Ruth, to straightaway center field at Tiger Stadium (then called Navin Field and prior to the double-deck), which landed nearly across the intersection of Trumbull and Cherry.

The location of where Hank Aaron's record 755th home run landed has been monumented in Milwaukee. The hallowed spot sits outside Miller Park, where the Milwaukee Brewers currently play. Similarly, the point where Aaron's 715th homer landed, upon breaking Ruth's career record in 1974, is marked in the Turner Field parking lot.

Slang terms for home runs include: big fly, blast, bomb, circuit clout, dinger, ding-dong, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, funk blast, goner, gopher ball, homer, jack, long ball, moonshot, quadruple, round-tripper, shot, slam, swat, tape-measure shot, tater, and wallop. The act of hitting a home run can be called going deep or going yard or going home; additionally, with men on base, it can be called clearing the table. A comparatively long home run can be described as Ruthian, named after Babe Ruth's legendary drives. The act of attempting to hit a home run, whether successful or not, can also be termed swinging for the fences. A game with many home runs in it can be referred to as a slugfest or home run derby. A player who hits a home run is said to have "dialed 8", from the practice of having to dial 8 from a hotel room telephone to dial long distance. A grand slam is often referred to as a grand salami or simply, a salami.

This includes only the home runs that broke a record set in a previous year, not home runs that extended a record within the same year.

On August 28, 2008, instant replay review became available in MLB for reviewing calls in accordance with the above proposal. It was first utilized on September 3, 2008 in a game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees hit what appeared to be a home run, but the ball hit a catwalk behind the foul pole. It was at first called a home run, until Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon argued the call, and the umpires decided to review the play. After 2 minutes and 15 seconds, the umpires came back and ruled it a home run.

About two weeks later, on September 19, also at Tropicana Field, a boundary call was overturned for the first time. In this case, Carlos Peña of the Rays was given a ground rule double in a game against the Minnesota Twins after an umpire believed a fan reached into the field of play to catch a fly ball in right field. The umpires reviewed the play, determined the fan did not reach over the fence, and reversed the call, awarding Peña a home run.

Aside from the two aforementioned reviews at Tampa Bay, replay was used four more times in the 2008 MLB regular season: twice at Houston, once at Seattle, and once at San Francisco. The San Francisco incident is perhaps the most unusual. Bengie Molina, the Giants' Catcher, hit what was first called as a double. Molina then was replaced in the game by a pinch-runner before the umpires re-evaluated the call and ruled it a home run. In this instance though, Molina was not allowed to return to the game to complete the run, as he had already been replaced. Molina was credited with the home run, and two RBIs, but not for the run scored which went to the pinch-runner instead.

Most home runs in a doubleheader: Stan Musial hit 5 on May 2, 1954. Nate Colbert equalled the feat on August 1, 1972.

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2004 American League Division Series

2004ALDS.jpg

The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage. The Angels received home field advantage rather than the Twins due to their winning the season series 6-4 against Minnesota. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Yankees played the Twins, rather than the wild card Red Sox, because the Yankees and Red Sox are in the same division.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox went on to meet in the AL Championship Series (ALCS). The Red Sox became the American League champion, and defeated the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series for their first World Championship since 1918.

Pitching dominated in Game 1 as Mike Mussina faced Johan Santana. The Twins got on the board first when Shannon Stewart singled home Michael Cuddyer. Then in the 6th, Jacque Jones hit a solo home run to make it 2-0. The Yankees got nine hits and numerous walks but never capitalized on Johan Santana, Juan Rincon, or closer Joe Nathan as the Yankees hit into five double plays.

Brad Radke faced Jon Lieber in a must-win game for the Yankees. It was arguably the best game of the series. In the top of the 1st, Justin Morneau doubled in Torii Hunter to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 1st, Derek Jeter led off the game with a game-tying home run to make it a 1-1 game. A single by Cuddyer and a sac fly by Henry Blanco made it 3-1 Twins. But Gary Sheffield would tie the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd. Alex Rodriguez gave the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the 5th with a solo home run. He would also add in another run by singling home Miguel Cairo to make it 5-3 Yankees. A passed strike three ball allowed the Twins to tie the game. Torii Hunter would single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Mariano Rivera came in but the Twins were still able to tie the game. A single by Morneau and a ground rule double by Corey Koskie would be the tying-run scorers. However, the ground rule double cost the Twins a run and would never be able to score that run as Jason Kubel and Cristian Guzman went down. The game went into extra innings and in the top of the 12th, Torii Hunter hit the go-ahead solo home run. The Twins were on the verge of putting the Yankees down, despite being heavy underdogs. But two one-out walks to Miguel Cairo and Derek Jeter proved costly. Alex Rodriguez hit a ground rule double that tied the game. Then, after Gary Sheffield was intentionally walked, Hideki Matsui hit the game winning sacrifice fly that scored Derek Jeter.

Yankees starter Kevin Brown faced Twins hurler Carlos Silva in the crucial Game 3. The Twins grabbed the lead in the bottom of the 1st when Jacque Jones hit his second home run of the series. But it would be the last time the Twins would lead in this game. With 2 outs in the 2nd, 5 straight singles gave the Yankees a 3-run rally to put themselves ahead 3-1. Then, as the night wore on, the Yanks would blow the game wide open in the 6th. Bernie Williams hit a 2-run homer after Matsui singled to lead off the inning. Then Derek Jeter added a two-run single to make it 7-1 Yankees. Brown hurled 6 innings, giving up only one run to the Twins. Matsui would homer in the 7th inning to make it 8-1 going into the 9th. The Twins, however, would not go quietly. Two consecutive hit-by-pitches to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning by Felix Heredia gave the Twins some life. Then, Tanyon Sturtze came on in relief and gave up two consecutive hits to make it 8-2. An RBI-groundout and a sac fly made it 8-4, but the game was too far out of reach as the Yanks won.

Javier Vazquez went against Johan Santana, who pitched so well in Game 1. The Twins were on the board first with a sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter. But the Yankees would tie it on an RBI-single by Hideki Matsui in the 3rd. Another sac fly untied the score and gave the Twins the lead back in the 4th. Henry Blanco led the bottom of the 5th off with a home run to make it 3-1 Twins. A 2-run double by Lew Ford extended the Twins' lead to 5-1 later in the inning. However, the Twins would squander the lead in the top of the 8th with Juan Rincon pitching in relief. Bernie Williams would single home Gary Sheffield after a single and wild pitch. With Matsui and Williams on base and one out, Rubén Sierra hit the game-tying 3-run home run to make it tied at 5. Joe Nathan would come on in relief and get the next two outs. But, once again, the Twins blew the lead and a sense of déjà vu hung in the air. When the game moved to extra innings, Mariano Rivera came on and shut the Twins down. But the series would end when Alex Rodriguez doubled, stole third, and scored on Kyle Lohse's wild pitch in the top of the 11th. Rivera would get the win as he retired the Twins 1-2-3 to end the series in the bottom of the 11th.

Game 1 pitted Curt Schilling against Jarrod Washburn. The Red Sox struck first when David Ortiz singled home Manny Ramírez. In the 4th, the Red Sox put the game away. After Ortiz walked to open the inning, Kevin Millar homered to make it 3-0. Then the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out. Johnny Damon would reach on an error by Chone Figgins that scored two unearned runs to make it 5-0. After Mark Bellhorn struck out, Manny Ramírez hit a three-run home run to make it 8-0. The Angels would score three and never come close as the Red Sox won. This was the game where Schilling injured his ankle.

Pedro Martínez faced Bartolo Colón. A bases loaded walk for the Red Sox in the 2nd put them ahead 1-0. But the Angels would tie it in the bottom half with an RBI-single by Dallas McPherson. The Angels would take their only lead in the series when Vladimir Guerrero, the eventual MVP, singled home Jose Molina and David Eckstein. The Red Sox immediately responded when Jason Varitek hit a 2-out, 2-run homer to tie the game in the 6th. The Sox would take the lead on a sacrifice fly by Manny Ramírez in the 7th. The Red Sox finished off the Angels in the 9th, an inning capped off with a bases loaded double by Orlando Cabrera.

Kelvim Escobar and Bronson Arroyo faced off in the clincher. The Red Sox once again struck first with a single and a groundout that made it 2-0 in the 3rd. The Angels cut the lead in half when Troy Glaus hit a solo home run in the 4th. Numerous errors by the Angels' defense opened the door for a 3-run rally in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-1. Manny Ramírez would single home another run in the 5th to make it 6-1 Red Sox. It appeared as if the Angels were down and out. The Angels would load the bases thanks to two walks and a single. After Chone Figgins struck out, Darin Erstad walked to force in a run that made it 6-2. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Mike Timlin then threw to Vladimir Guerrero and paid. Guerrero hit a grand slam to right that evened the score at 6-6 and stunned the Fenway crowd. The game went to extra innings and, in the bottom of the 10th, Johnny Damon led off with a single. After Pokey Reese forced him and Ramirez struck out, David Ortiz began his postseason legacy by hitting a series-winning walk-off home run off Jarrod Washburn, in relief of Francisco Rodriguez, over the Green Monster.

Swing and a fly ball to left field...way back! Way back! The Red Sox are going to the American League Championship Series on the back of David Ortiz!

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Source : Wikipedia