Posted by Raphy on June 11, 2010
In last nights' Cubs-Brewers game, Craig Counsell came up to the plate in the bottom of the tenth with Carlos Gomez on first. Counsell sacrificed and Gomez, seeing that nobody was covering third, kept running. An errant throw by Xavier Nady allowed Gomez to score and the Brewers walked off with the win (video). Of course, this leads to the question if there is a precedent for a team with a runner only on first executing a sacrifice bunt and walked off with the win on the same play.
To find this, we can use the team batting event finder to search for sacrifice hits with a runner on first which put a team in the lead and ended the game. Most of the plays returned will be sacrifice bunt attempts that were mishandled by the defense and the sacrifice was never actually executed (The batter is still credited with a SH). A much smaller number will be similar to the play from last night. How much smaller? From 1952-2010 , it happened only one other time.
|1||1||1975-07-17||Jay Johnstone||PHI||HOU||Ken Forsch||tied 5-5||0||1||3||9||Out||b11||1--||0||0||*ENDED GAME*:Bunt Groundout: 3B-2B/Sacrifice; Bowa Scores/Adv on E4 (throw to 3B)/No RBI/unER|
On July 17, 1975 the Phillies beat the Astros 6-5 when Astros attempted to nab Larry Bowa at third base and instead threw the ball away. Bowa had started the play on first, but attempted to go all the way to third as the Astro's successfully retired Jay Johnstone for the sacrifice. Sounds familiar, doesn't it ?
Sometimes it take 35 years, but in baseball even the most unique looking plays may not be so unique after-all.