Giambi's 429th homer provides a walk-off memory

The Sports Xchange

Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi figured he was in a no-lose situation: Bottom of the ninth, one out, runners on second third. Game tied at 5 and left-hander Scott Elbert coming on to pitch for the Dodgers. Carlos Gonzalez, like Giambi a left-handed hitter who had homered twice in the game, was on deck.

Speedy Eric Young Jr. was on third base, so it wasn't going to take a deep fly ball to score him and win the game. Giambi drove Elbert's 1-0 pitch over the center-field fence.

"I was just looking for a pitch I could get up in the air. Luckily I did and hit it out of the ballpark," Giambi said.

The home run was his first this season and No. 429 of the 41-year-old Giambi's career.

It was his eighth career pinch hit homer and fifth pinch hit homer for the Rockies. It was also his eighth career walk-off homer and fourth with the Rockies. It was also Giambi's third pinch hit walk-off homer with the Rockies.

The Dodgers brought right fielder Andre Ethier in to play first base in a five-man infield and moved left fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to right-center and stationed center fielder Matt Kemp in left-center.

"They had 20 guys in the infield, which I'm used to hitting with anyway," Giambi said. "They're usually on the right side. They were a little more spread out this time. It's nice that they were in. Usually, they got a guy out playing rover and an extra fan out there somewhere. It was kind of nice to have them all in the infield where I felt like, 'Oh,

I can get it past these guys now.'

"It's usually the guy in short right field that I'm worried


Giambi figured he would get a pitch to hit and not be waked or pitched around, because the Dodgers didn't relish facing Gonzalez with the bases loaded. He had homered in the fourth and eighth off starter Clayton Kershaw.

Giambi felt his swing wasn't quite right and had looked at video without noticing anything and had gone to hitting coach Carney Lansford on Tuesday night for his input.

Lansford saw that Giambi's front hip was opening up a bit too soon.

"I was in a great spot," Giambi said. "Here you got Cargo on deck. You're not really out of the woods, walking me there for Cargo. He's been so hot. I know I'm going to get a pitch to hit, especially after the first pitch, throwing a fastball. I figured he was going to stay with it, trying to jam me and keep the ball on the ground. Luckily I just got one up enough and I could kind of push it toward center field."

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