There’s a little magic left in Jason Giambi’s bat after all.
The 42-year-old former MVP, who entered with a .177 average in 181 at-bats this season, hit a walkoff homer off Addison Reed in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Indians a 5-4 win over the White Sox on Tuesday.
It was the Indians’ fifth straight win, upping their record to 87-70 and keeping them in wild card position with five games to go.
The White Sox took the lead in the top of the ninth tonight on solo homers from Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza off embattled closer Chris Perez. It was Perez’s fifth blown save in 30 tries. Reed countered with his eighth blown save in 47 chances.
Incredibly, it was the second time this year Giambi hit a walkoff homer off Reed. He did so in a tie game back on July 29. He has 10 career walkoff homers.
The homer was the 438th of Giambi’s career, tying him with Andre Dawson and Adam Dunn for 39th place on the all-time list. The only active players with more are Alex Rodriguez (654), Manny Ramirez (555) and Albert Pujols (492).
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.