With Monte Pearson on the mound, the Yankees quickly fell into a 2-0 hole on June 11, 1936. After an error and a lead-off walk to start the game against the Tigers, Pearson allowed both runners to score. The Yankees answered back with a two-run Lou Gehrig home run in the bottom of the first off Tigers’ starter Schoolboy Rowe. That was just the first inning in what would be a fairly crazy game.
After the first inning, the game wouldn’t get any better for Pearson. He allowed another two runs in the third, one in the fourth, and was chased from the game after allowing a sixth run with one out in the fifth. At the end of the top of the fifth, the Yankees trailed 6-2.
The Yankees chipped away at their deficit with a run in the bottom of the fifth. They got another run back in the sixth. Yankees’ reliever Bump Hadley had kept the Tigers off the board since the departure of Pearson, which allowed the Yankees to take the lead in the eighth.
Gehrig led off the eighth with a walk. After a George Selkirk double, Ben Chapman scored Gehrig on a sacrifice fly. Rowe then walked the next two batters, loading the bases. The Yankees sent up a pitcher Red Ruffing as a pinch-hitter for Hadley. The move worked as Ruffing singled, scoring two runs to put the Yankees up 7-6. However, it would not be the last time a pitcher got a key hit that day.
The Yankees brought in Johnny Broaca to try and finish off the game in the ninth. However, that immediately backfired as Frank Reiber led off the top of the ninth with a home run. The game was tied. Broaca had to be replaced by Ted Kleinhans, who kept the tie game intact.
The Tigers had brought in Roxie Lawson to clean up Rowe’s mess in the bottom of the eighth, and he then pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
In the top of the tenth, Kleinhans quickly put two runners on and was taken out. Pat Malone came in and got two outs, bringing Lawson to the plate. Despite already having singled earlier in the game, the Tigers’ reliever was not exactly a great hitter, and would finish his career with an OPS+ of 6. However on that day, he tripled, scoring two runs. The Yankees had two outs and a pitcher batting with a chance to get out of the inning with the game tied, but were instead now down to their last three outs.
Lawson stayed in the game to pitch the bottom of the tenth for the Tigers. He would give up a triple to Tony Lazzeri to lead off the inning. Joe Glenn then singled, scoring Lazzeri and bringing up the nine spot in the order.
Despite two key hits from pitchers earlier in the game, the Yankees decided not to have any fun and pinch hit for Malone. Even less fun is the fact that all pinch-hitter Jack Saltzgaver did was bunt Glenn over to second. Lawson then walked Frankie Crosetti, bringing up Red Rolfe.
After having been the hero just a couple minutes before, Lawson turned into the goat. Rolfe doubled, scoring both runs to give the Yankees a 10-9 walk-off win.
Two of the five biggest plays according to win percentage added in this game were hits by pitchers. According to WPA, Roxie Lawson’s hitting improved the Tigers’ chances of winning by 52%. However, his pitching improved the Yankees’ chances by 66%.
All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index