Opening Day (April 1, 2013) is 89 days away. We are counting down the 100 Walk Off Home Runs in Angels franchise history. Today we look at #86
August 29, 2004 - The Angels were in a pennant chase, in fact, it turned out that they would need each and every victory to claim the West in 2004. It was perhaps the most dramatic come from behind race in AL West history, at least as dramatic as 1985, and better seeing as the Angels actually won the West in 2004.
And so a walkoff homer late in the season of a great comeback is basically a more important walkoff homer than most of the ones on this list. This one counted then and ended up counting big later on. And sure, every win therefore was big, in hindsight a little bigger than we celebrated each lighting of the halo. But this win was really based on one swing of the bat. All walkoffs are. There were only two walkoff homers in the 2004 season. The Angels won the division by one game. We know that the final swing in this game created a win. This could go on and on, basically, it is a little more important when you win a big game in what turns out to be a winning season. How much bigger? Soemone will create a stat one day and let us know.
It was an eighty degree Sunday afternoon when Kelvim Escobar took the field for the Halos. Indicative if the type of season he had, he allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings and left with the score tied. Actually that wasn't too indicative of the type of season he had in 2004, as there were many games where he would not have gotten the two runs of support from his teammates. Whenever there was a blowout by Angels bats in 2004, it seemed Kelvim was not on the mound.
Escobar threw three bad pitches all afternoon. He left one up for Justin Morneau to homer in the third inning. In the fourth he hit Michael Cuddyer with his second pitch of the inning. Cuddyer stole base and it must have rattled the Venezuelan on the mound, because he gave up a double to Christian Guzman, plating the Twins' second run.
The Angels actually scored first in the game, but in a weak manner - with men on 1B and 3B to lead off the third inning, David Eckstein grounded into a double play to score the runner. In the sixth, Jose Guillen doubled in Vladimir Guerrero to tie the game at 2-2.
Frankie pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth. Juan Rincon tried to match him with a scoreless eighth and then went back out in the ninth. He struck out Bengie Molina swinging, the fourth straight Angel he struck out and the eighth straight Angel sent back to the dugout.
After Guillen had doubled in the sixth, Ron Gardenhire brought in lefty JC Romero who, with one out and a man on 2B, got Bengie Molina to ground out. Romero intentionally walked Troy Glaus and got lefty Adam Kennedy to ground out weakly and end the threat. And so Juan Rincon stayed away from Troy Glaus and walked him on a 3-1 count. AK, however would not go lightly and battled to a full count and after seven pitches, Kennedy's uppercut lefthanded swing drove the eighth offering from lefty Rincon into RF seats. It was the first walkoff homerun of Kennedy's career and it was one swing that had destiny written all over it as far as this season was concerned.