Walk-off mania is running wild

Is it just me, or are walk-off wins more prevalent this season? Five games ended in walk-off fashion on Wednesday, and it was a phenomenon that started during the day in the Midwest and ended late on the Pacific coast. Heck, even Canada got in on the action.

I missed the Cubs, Royals and A’s wins because I wasn’t in the office yet. The Jays’ finish was something else. It’s not every day you see a game end on a wild pitch. And it was tossed by Jose Guillen’s best buddy, Brendan Donnelly.

Toronto, by the way, is still hanging around in the Wild Card race. Entering play on Thursday night, the Jays had the same record as the Orioles (51-49).

The last walk-off win on Wednesday night occurred in San Diego. The Padres finally ended their eight-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the mighty Cardinals. Tony La Russa — the, ahem, mastermind — really blew this game. Jason Marquis entered the ninth having thrown 111 pitches. That should have been it for Marquis.

Padres

Instead, Marquis trots out to start the ninth. He gets Brian Giles to pop out, but Ryan Klesko doubles on a 3-2 pitch. Pinch runner Damian Jackson replaces Klesko, and Marquis intentionally walks new Padre Joe Randa.

On Marquis’ 21st pitch of the ninth — and the  132nd pitch of his night — Robert Fick hit a smash into right field for the game-winning hit.

Marquis should have never been out there. The Padres could have had a similar situation, but Jake Peavy was pulled after eight innings and 115 pitches. Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth, and the Padres got a win they really needed.

And how bad is the NL West? So bad, that 15 other clubs in the Majors have a beter record than the first-place Padres (51-51). This group includes Cleveland (52-50), which is 14 games back in the AL Central, and Philadelphia (52-50), which is last in the NL East.

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