Throughout the course of his Hall of Fame career, Miguel Cabrera has been intentionally walked plenty of times. None of those, however, turned out quite the way that it did on this day 15 years ago.
In an 8-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles, Cabrera managed to turn a pitch that was supposed to be part of an intentional walk into an RBI single as the Marlins completed an improbable comeback with a 10th-inning victory.
Facing Todd Williams at Camden Yards on June 22, 2006, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramírez singled to start the top of the 10th. After a Mike Jacobs grounded out to move Ramirez to second, walking Cabrera seemed like the obvious thing to do.Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez stood up well outside to signal an intentional walk. Williams’ pitch however wasn’t far enough outside and Cabrera was ready. The Florida cleanup hitter was able to get solid wood on the lob and lined one into center field, scoring Ramírez and giving the Marlins a 6-5 lead.
Williams was able to bounce back and strike out Cody Ross, but the Orioles weren’t out of the inning. Kurt Birkins replaced Williams and proceeded to allow a single to Jeremy Hermida and a walk to Josh Willingham.
With the bases loaded, Joe Borchard hit one to shortstop, but a throwing error by Miguel Tejada allowed Cabrera and Hermida to score as Florida extended its lead to 8-5. Joe Borowski worked a perfect ninth for the Marlins to seal the victory and collect the save.
After eight innings, the Marlins looked dead in the water. The contest was tied 1-1 before Baltimore plated four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Hernandez led the inning off with a home run—his second of the night—off starter Scott Olsen. Melvin Mora added a sacrifice fly to score a run before Tejada and Javy Lopez put together back-to-back RBI singles.
Down 5-1 in the top of the ninth, Cabrera and Hermida singled off LaTroy Hawkins. With one out, Chris Ray replaced Hawkins and got Willingham to fly out. It scored a run, but resulted in the second out. Down 5-2, Borchard and Wes Helms hit back-to-back pinch hit-home runs off Ray to knot the contest. Randy Messenger worked a scoreless ninth to earn the win.
For a contest as wild as that one was, it seemed only fitting that it would have been decided in bizarre fashion. A failed intentional walk pitch-turned RBI single certainly qualifies. It happened on this day 15 years ago.