Marathon MLB Games Highlight Saturday’s Action
In Baseball, extra inning games aren’t exactly rare, but it is definitely uncommon to see games go into innings that get into the late teens and early adulthood, so to speak. It’s even more rare to see two games get to that point, but it happened today, June 8, 2013, when the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays went 18 innings in a 4-3 Blue Jays walk-off victory. However, not to be out-done, the Miami Marlins and New York Mets went 20 innings that concluded in a 2-1 Marlins victory.
On the Blue Jays and Rangers:
The game started off with a pair of scoreless innings before Toronto pushed across three runs against Yu Darvish in the third inning on a Colby Rasmus triple followed by Rasmus scoring on a throwing error by Jurickson Profar. Toronto starter Mark Buehrle remained steady in his seven innings, giving up just one run via a home run by Jeff Baker. In the top of the 9th, the Rangers battled back and tied the game off of Toronto closer Casey Janssen, and marathon game one of two was underway.
Both bullpens traded zeroes over the next nine innings, with each offense stranding multiple base runners, combining for a 3-36 day at the plate with runners in scoring position. The Rangers attempted to score a go-ahead run in the 10th inning with the bases loaded and one out, when Leonys Martin hit a fly ball to right field. With Lance Berkman on third base and tagging up, Jose Bautista fired a throw to the plate and nailed Berkman at the plate.
In a later base-running error that occurred in the top of the 18th inning, David Murphy was caught taking too much of a lead by Blue Jay catcher J.P. Arencibia when the Rangers had first and second with nobody out. Arencibia threw behind Murphy with Elvis Andrus at the plate, and shortstop Maicer Izturis threw over to third baseman Edwin Encarnacion to complete the play. In the bottom of the 18th, Emilio Bonifacio reached on a single against Ross Wolf, who was working in his seventh inning of relief. It looked like it may have ended up being more of the same with a runner on base with two outs, but an errant pick-off throw allowed Bonifacio to scamper all the way to third, followed by Rajai Davis hitting a 1-0 pitch into left field to score Bonifacio and end the game.
On the Marlins and Mets
This game was billed as an exciting matchup between young pitchers Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey, young pitchers who have brought excitement to two teams who have been in search of something to be happy about. The Mets struck early when Juan Lagares drove in Ike Davis with a double. Harvey pitched well, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. However, he found himself in a spot of trouble in the top of the fourth, when the Marlins got two runners on with one out with back to back singles by Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna, the latter pushing Dietrich over to third base. Chris Coghlan came to the plate and proceeded to lift a ball deep enough into the outfield to score Dietrich from third and tie the game at 1, where it would stay for the next 15 innings.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Mets got runners on first and third with one out, when Marlon Byrd hit a fly ball down the right field line. Ozuna ran over and made the catch in fair territory, set up, and threw a strike to the plate to gun down Daniel Murphy to keep the game alive. For the 13th inning, the Mets brought in Shaun Marcum, who was scheduled to pitch Friday night’s game that got rained out. The Marlins countered that with Kevin Slowey, who would have also been starting that game against Marcum. Both pitchers tossed seven scoreless innings, waiting for the other to blink, when Marcum finally did. With one out in the top of the 20th inning, Placido Polanco, who had been 0-7 up to that point, singled on a ground ball to right field. Catcher Rob Brantly followed with a single of his own, and Adeiny Hechavarria came through with an RBI single to score Polanco from second base. Closer Steve Cishek came in and pitched a perfect inning to get the save, and gaining Slowey a well-deserved win in relief.
One interesting note between these two games are the people who became deciding factors at the end. Emilio Bonifacio scored the winning run for Toronto while Adeiny Hechavarria drove in the winning run for Miami, and these two players were part of the big trade this past off-season that sent each other in opposite directions. Mark Buehrle was also a part of that trade, who started for Toronto and pitched very well.
Another fun note is that when the Mets and Marlins played on April 30th in Miami, Harvey and Fernandez started against each other in a game that lasted 15 innings, and Shaun Marcum also came out of the bullpen in that game only to receive a loss, similar to today’s game. Both Marcum and Slowey pitched incredibly well out of the bullpen, combining for 15 innings, allowing one run, 13 hits, and neither pitcher walked a batter. To put things in perspective, both starters qualified for quality starts, and both Slowey and Marcum pitched better than both of them, as well as more innings. The Marlins tied a franchise record for longest game by innings, which they set in April of 2003 in a 7-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.