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White Sox, M's make extra-inning history

6/5/2013

When you go to a ballgame, you never know what’s going to happen. What started out as a pitchers’ duel in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon turned into one of the most bizarre games of the season.

The Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox were both scoreless through the first 13 innings, then the White Sox erupted for five runs in the top of the 14th inning and the Mariners somehow matched them with five runs in the bottom of the inning.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first game in major-league history in which each team scored five-or-more runs in a game that was scoreless through nine innings.

Kyle Seager tied the game for the Mariners in the 14th with a dramatic two-out grand slam. Elias also tells us that Seager is the first player in major-league history with a game-tying slam in extra innings.

White Sox-Mariners On Wednesday
By The Numbers

How unlikely was Seager’s slam? He had zero homers in 17 career bases-loaded at-bats and zero homers in 23 career extra-inning at-bats entering this game.

The pitch was an 85 MPH slider at the knees that Seager drove into the right-center field seats. Prior to that at-bat, Seager was 1-for-19 on sliders in the lower third of the zone or below this season.

Alejandro De Aza was the hero for the White Sox in the 16th inning when he hit a line drive up the middle that scored Gordon Beckham from second base. It was his first career go-ahead hit in extra innings.

De Aza’s game-winning hit was less surprising than Seager’s game-tying slam. It came on a 1-2 changeup from Hector Noesi, continuing a recent trend of two-strike success for the lefty. Since May 30, De Aza is 9-for-23 (.391) in two-strike counts; prior to that date, he was hitting .173 with two strikes.

In the end, the teams combined for 12 extra-inning runs, tying the AL record for most runs scored by both teams in extras. It had been done four times previously, according to Elias, and most recently in a 16-4 game between the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers on July 3, 1983 that went 15 innings.

Although the Mariners have played several games that were longer than 16 innings, there had never been a home game in Mariners history that lasted as long as this five-hour and 42-minute marathon in terms of elapsed time.

Despite the loss, at least the fans in Seattle can say they got their money’s worth for this game.