Last night the Cleveland Guardians took on the Chicago White Sox in the windy city. It was a rather calm game that turned into one of the wildest games of the season with the unexpected star being Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor.
A Wild Finish
This Monday night game between two American League Central rivals was one dominated for the majority of the game by the White Sox. They scored four in the bottom of the first which was plenty to hold the lead before they eventually padded their lead with one in the seventh and three in the eighth.
As the game moved into the top of the ninth the Sox held a pretty comfortable 8-2 lead, but the Guardians weren’t finished.
Following a lead off homer by Andres Giminez, Cleveland was able to get base runners in a variety of ways with a single, an error and a walk. This forced Sox manager Tony La Russa to bring in former All-Star closer Liam Hendriks to get one out in order to wrap this game up and get the Sox home with a victory.
Owen Miller, the first batter to face Hendriks, hit a single to load the bases with two outs for Josh Naylor. Naylor came to the plate with a relatively solid stat line for the day with one hit in three at bats for an RBI double as well as a walk.
In this crucial ninth inning at bat, Naylor ambushed the very first pitch and blasted it to right center field for a game tying grand slam.
The game moved into the bottom of the ninth where the Sox loaded the bases on three walks. With two outs and bases full, Adam Engel hit a bullet to Jose Ramirez who made an incredible stop. He quickly popped up and threw a heater to Naylor at first, but it was just wide of him so Naylor did a spectacular stretch in order to catch the ball and keep a foot on the base to send the game to extra innings tied at eight.
Each team scored one in the 10th and moved into the 11th notched at nine.
The Guardians were up to bat with two outs and two on. Josh Naylor was the next batter up. On a 1-0 count Naylor blistered a ball into right field. It cleared the wall for a massive three-run homer to put the Guardians up 12-9.
Due to the late game heroics of Naylor the Guardians were able to turn an 8-2 deficit in the ninth into a 12-9 victory for one of the craziest comebacks of the season.
Naylor Made History
Naylor finished the game hitting 3-5 with two homers, eight RBI and a walk. A performance like this inevitably made some history.
He became the first player in MLB history to record eight RBI in the eighth inning or later.
Naylor, who was born in Mississauga, Canada became only the seventh Canadian born player in MLB history to put up eight RBI in a game.
In terms of personal records, this was his first career multi-homer game and it was his first career grand slam. He also blew his previous single game RBI record out of the water as he recorded three only twice before.
It must also be mentioned that all eight RBI in this game came with two outs. Talk about timely hitting.
A Career Season
The 2022 season is still in its infancy, but Naylor is having his best season yet. In 2019, Naylor made his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres. He played in 94 games, where he put up eight homers and 32 RBI. In a shortened 2020 season he was traded to Cleveland.
In 2021 he only played in 69 games where in 233 at bats he hit seven homers and 21 RBI. Unfortunately, his season was cut short after a horrible leg injury on June 27.
He is back and better than ever in 2022. In 19 games with only 68 at bats he has four homers and 21 RBI. He had already tied his run production from last season. Most of this production was a result of this one big game, but it does not take away from how well he is playing compared to his first few seasons.
Josh Naylor had one of the greatest games ever in the history of this game. This is a wonderful example of team and individual perseverance. Following a disappointing season, Naylor has come out early in 2022 ready to help his team win any way possible. This is a reminder that the game is never over until the final out is recorded.
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