It definitely wasn’t Jonathan Papelbon’s afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Trying to seal a Phillies victory by protecting a 6-4 lead, Papelbon gave up two runs on three hits, blowing the save — but setting up Jim Thome’s all-time Major League Baseball record 13th career walk-off home run.
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Besides passing Babe Ruth and several others to claim the record, however, Thome may have had a little extra incentive to end the game with one swing. At least, that’s Papelbon’s side of the story.
According to Delaware County Times journalist Ryan Lawrence, Papelbon said he came in to the clubhouse and offered $5,000 to the Phillies batter who could end the game with a home run. Thome later claimed that no money was actually exchanged, but Papelbon said he "just wrote [Thome] a check."