One of my all-time favorite baseball memories is going to a Phillies-Mets game in May 2006. The Phillies were riding an eight game win streak into the game and the Mets were playing great baseball en route to becoming the first team other than the Braves to win the National League East since the Braves joined the division in 1994. Pedro Martinez was on the mound so if I saw my team win they were beating the best and if I saw my team lose at least I was watching a future Hall of Famer. It was a perfect set up for what wound up being a fantastic game.
Two-run home runs by Xavier Nady and Carlos Delgado in the eighth and ninth innings respectively sent the game to the bottom of the ninth knotted at four a piece. After two quick outs, pinch hitter David Delluci hit a triple. One hit batsman and a walk later, Bobby Abreu stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs, and Aaron Heilman on the mound. Abreu hit a weak swinging bunt which Heilman fielded and threw wildly past the first baseman for an unconventional but immensely exciting walk-off E1.
The reason I’m bringing this game up, however, is because of what happened in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Phillies were up 3-2 with two outs and the not-exactly-fleet-of-foot Pat Burrell on first base which brought Shane Victorino into the game as a pinch hitter. The next batter, Ryan Howard, sent a double to right field and Victorino was off to the races. As he turned for home, the throw beat him to the plate so he bowled over catcher Paul Lo Duca, knocked the ball loose, and scored what ended up being a critical run to put the Phillies up 4-2 for a moment.