Encarnacion 4th player with walk-off HR in winner-take-all postseason game
By Roger Schlueter
Here are three interesting items from the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday ...
• Edwin Encarnacion capped off the Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Orioles with a walk-off three-run home run. Encarnacion's long ball marked the 49th walk-off shot in postseason play, and it was the 28th to come in extra innings. Encarnacion joined Bill Mazeroski (Game 7, 1960 World Series), Chris Chambliss (Game 5, 1976 AL Championship Series) and Aaron Boone (Game 7, 2003 ALCS) as the fourth player to deliver a walk-off homer in a winner-take-all postseason contest.
• At 25 years and 156 days old, Marcus Stroman (six innings, two earned runs) made his second career start in a winner-take-all contest (in Game 5 of the 2015 AL Division Series, Stroman went six innings and allowed two runs in a no-decision). Stroman is one of seven pitchers to have multiple winner-take-all starts before turning 26, joining Don Gullett (0-0), Bret Saberhagen (1-0), Jaret Wright (1-0), Mark Mulder (0-2) and Gerrit Cole (0-2) -- two each -- and John Smoltz, who made three of them and was 1-0 with a 0.81 ERA. Without age as a limiting device, Roger Clemens made the most such starts (five), while Smoltz and his three are tied with Bob Gibson, Saberhagen and Wright for the second most. Of those five pitchers, Smoltz was the only one to have an ERA of less than 3.00 in his starts.
• After Stroman departed, five Blue Jays relievers combined for five innings of hitless baseball (the only baserunner allowed came via a Brett Cecil walk). Prior to this contest, eight other postseason games had seen a team have at least five relievers (all recording at least one out) finish their work with no hits allowed.
Roger Schlueter is a statistical researcher and writes for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.