2012 sure was an exciting year for baseball fans. Playoff races ran until the final day of the regular season. Postseason games were decided with one swing of the bat. Legends went out in blazes of glory. And throughout all of those great moments, the walkoff stood tall. There were 205 walkoff wins during the 2012 season, ranging from the mundane (wild pitch, error) to the dramatic (home run). When looking at the impact of a walkoff, be sure to take the full situation into account. Did the team overcome a huge deficit late? Was the game a back and forth nail-biting affair? Was there a lot at stake? All are very important points to consider when looking at just how memorable a walkoff win was. Here are ten of the more memorable walkoffs from the 2012 season, in chronological order. Keep in mind that while a win in April means just as much as a win in September, the April wins aren't necessarily something that you'll remember forever, while the September wins are something that could stick with you for a lifetime.
April 29th. Orioles 5, A's 2.
Maybe we should have thought something was different about the 2012 Orioles after this game. Baltimore was dominated by Oakland starter Bartolo Colon for eight innings, and was down 2-0 going into the ninth. Colon allowed a pair of infield singles in the ninth before getting pulled in favor of A's closer Grant Balfour. Balfour immediately allowed a game-tying double to Matt Wieters, then intentionally walked Chris Davis to face Wilson Betemit. The move made sense considering that at the time, Davis was pounding the ball and Betemit was...not. Of course, because this is baseball and crazy stupid things happen a lot, Betemit launched a walkoff, three-run homer to right field, handing Baltimore an improbable comeback win that would be a hallmark of their season.
May 2nd. Braves 15, Phillies 13 (11 innings).
I can see the Phillies fans already cursing at me. But this game may have been the best of the entire 2012 season. The Phillies jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four and a half, pounding Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson and reliever Cristhian Martinez. The Braves scored six in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game, highlighted by a Brian McCann grand slam, and took the lead after a two-run single by Jason Heyward in the sixth, chasing Roy Halladay from the hill with an eight spot on his record. The Phililes swarmed back in the seventh and eighth, scoring six runs all driven in by catcher Carlos Ruiz to go back on top 12-8. Atlanta scored five in the eighth against the Phillies bullpen to take a 13-12 lead, but Shane Victorino beat out an infield single off of Craig Kimbrel to tie the game at 13 in the ninth. The game went into extras, and in the 11th, retiring Braves star Chipper Jones smashed a Brian Sanches fastball deep into the Atlanta night to top off the Braves comeback. They overcame deficits of six and four runs in the game, and walked away with an improbable victory.
May 13th. Marlins 8, Mets 4.
There were a lot of things that didn't go right for the 2012 Miami Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton was one of the things that *did* go right. In this Mothers Day tilt between the Mets and Marlins, New York controlled most of the game, but everything was knotted at two after a John Buck homer in the seventh inning. The Mets took a 4-2 lead after a two-run double in the ninth by Justin Turner, and turned things over to closer Frank Francisco. Of course, he allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base before getting pulled for Manny Acosta, who immediately allowed a game-tying sacrifice fly to Jose Reyes. Acosta then walked Hanley Ramirez and hit Austin Kearns to load the bases for Stanton, who took the first pitch he saw deep to left field and set off the home run sculpture of doom at Marlins Park to give Miami a crazy walkoff win on Mothers Day.
May 13th. Reds 9, Nationals 6.
Another Mothers Day thriller, this one coming in Cincinnati. Washington picked, nibbled, and clawed away at the Reds pitching staff all game, but led just 4-3 after five innings. The Nationals increased their lead to 6-3 after their half of the eighth, but the lead shrunk to 6-5 after a two-run double by Jay Bruce. This game was before the emergence of Tyler Clippard as the Washington closer, so Henry Rodriguez came in to save the game. The Reds tried to play small ball to just get one run and tie the game up, bunting Devin Mesoraco (pinch running for Ryan Hanigan) over to second to try to get him in. Miguel Cairo popped up for the second out, but Rodriguez walked both Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey after throwing four straight balls to each after getting ahead of both batters. That brought up Joey Votto, who had already homered twice in the game. The former NL MVP took a 2-2 pitch from Rodriguez and dumped it just over the center field wall, giving the Reds a huge win in a battle of the two teams that would finish the season with the top two records in the National League.
June 5th. Nationals 7, Mets 6 (12 innings).
There was just something in the air when it came to the NL East this season. There were a lot of crazy, back and forth games, moreso here than in any other division. This game between the Mets and Nationals was no exception. After leading 3-0, Washington blew the lead, falling behind 4-3 after a two-run double by Andres Torres in the eighth. Ian Desmond tied the game back up with a solo homer, but the Mets regained the lead in the tenth after a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez. Of course, the Nationals tied the game at five in the bottom of the inning after Jordany Valdespin's second error of the inning allowed Ryan Zimmerman to score. The Mets once again took the lead in the 12th after a solo homer by Scott Hairson off of Ross Detwiler made it a 6-5 game. But New York reliever Edwar Ramirez had a bad 12th inning, allowing back to back doubles to Michael Morse and Desmond to tie the game at six. Ramirez then loaded the bases, collecting two outs in the process, for 19-year old Nationals phenom Bryce Harper. Harper looped a soft liner into left that fell just in front of the glove of Vinny Rottino, giving Washinton a wild win and the wunderkind his first career walk-off hit.
July 14th. Orioles 8, Tigers 6.
Now this one was improbable. Baltimore led 4-1 going into the ninth, and the capable Jim Johnson was in to close the game out. Of course, Johnson allowed three runs and blew just his second save of the year, sending the game into extra innings deadlocked at four. The Tigers took a 5-4 lead in the 11th after an Alex Avila single, but the Orioles immediately rallied back to tie it on a single by Adam Jones. In the 13th, Detroit once again took the lead on a single by Quintin Berry. JJ Hardy homered in the 13th to tie the game at six, and Orioles backup catcher Taylor Teagarden played hero in his first game of the year, homering to right field off of Joaquin Benoit to hand Baltimore the victory.