Up until he sent a hanging curveball 392 feet and over the left-field wall on Saturday,
He had four other walk-off hits and 189 other home runs in his career. On 25 other occasions, his home run had started the game but it had never ended it. Not until the
“Really? First career walk-off homer?” said Manager
After the blast, Ramirez trotted far up the first-base line before finally discarding his bat. His teammates had already jumped the railings of the dugout and streamed onto the field. After he crossed home plate,
In the clubhouse, though, Ramirez looked less like the game’s hero and more like a man who had just finished a long, wearisome day at work. And in fairness, he had. The game went four hours, 39 minutes. A rare rain shower fell on the field for much of the later innings — the first time Los Angeles experienced an Aug. 2 rainfall since the
Afterward, Ramirez dressed deliberately. He spoke to the media for less than two minutes and kept his voice low and mostly expressionless. He managed a chuckle once — when someone mentioned this being his first walk-off home run.
Before the at-bat, he said he had told himself to cut down on his swing. There were already runners on first and second. He prodded himself to come through for his teammates.
“I was watching the way they were pitching to JT,” Ramirez said, referring to
Before the final at-bat, Ramirez was 2 for 4 on the day with a walk and a double. He is hitting .276 on the year. With first base open, Cubs right-hander Blake Parker was probably being careful with Turner. If the Cubs did in fact prefer pitching to Ramirez, it was a poor choice.
Parker hung a curveball. On second base,
Ramirez took his time. He had trotted out a home run before. But never like this.