There aren't many offensive stats where the 2019 Giants stood out, but when it came to game-winning hits, they truly were dominant. The Giants had eight walk-off wins, accounting for nearly a quarter of their victories at Oracle Park. On the flip side, they got walked off just twice.
There are few things better than a walk-off win, with the fans going crazy and teammates gathering at the plate or storming that night's hero as he rounds a base. Occasionally you get a pie thrown in or a water jug.
The website Stats Perform did a deep fun dive into walk-off life last week, looking back at players who have the most walk-offs and also some memorable ones -- including, unfortunately, Nolan Arenado's walk-off homer against the Giants to clinch the cycle. They also discovered that a current Giant is is atop the leaderboard for a very specific stat.
There are four players who have at least four walk-off doubles since 1974, including Hunter Pence, who is tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the most walk-off doubles (5) over the past 45 seasons. Eric Hosmer and Brian Giles both have four.
It turns out Pence was quite the walk-off double machine in Houston, getting three in his first five seasons. He had two in his first stint as a Giant, and both were ironically against Padres lefty Brad Hand. You actually might remember both of them, because neither was your traditional double into the gap.
The first came May 23, 2016, when Pence hit a two-out pop-up that Matt Kemp misplayed. Instead of pouting, Pence busted it into second. Brandon Belt raced al the way around from first for the game's only run. It was one of the weirder Giants wins in recent memory, but fits right in with that first half of 2016, when the Giants could do no wrong and the Even Year vibes were in the air:
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 24, 2016
The second one came two years later, when Pence squeezed a grounder inside the first base line for a game-winner. That one was memorable for the wild celebration that included Pence's jersey getting ripped apart:
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) June 24, 2018
That second one gave Pence 11 career walk-off hits, the second-most among active players since his debut in 2007.
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Are these all extremely obscure stats? Yep, but that's why we love -- and miss -- baseball. The numbers are a big part of the game, and now you know that if the Giants return this summer and Gabe Kapler sends Pence up with a chance to win the game, you're watching the King of the Walk-off Double.
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Giants' Hunter Pence leads active MLB players in this obscure stat originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area