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Kernels: Reviewing the marathons

8/10/2014

Last week's look at interesting and unusual MLB happenings mentioned that there hadn't been a 17-inning game yet this season.

But then came these last two days.

Things Taking Less Than 19 Innings

The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels went 18 frames Saturday night before Albert Pujols led off the bottom of the 19th with a home run. It was the fourth 19-inning game in Angels history and their first win in one since April 14, 1982. That game, which had been suspended in the 18th inning the night before (remember the old American League curfew?), was won with one out in the 20th when Bob Boone's single scored Don Baylor.

• Pujols' homer was the latest by inning since Brandon Moss's walk-off against the Angels in the 19th last season. Brandon Workman entered Saturday's game right before facing Pujols and needed just six pitches before the game ended.

He's the first pitcher in 14 years to enter in the 17th or later, face only one batter, and give up a walk-off homer... and the last was also a member of the Red Sox. Jeff Fassero allowed a 19th-inning homer to the Mariners' Mike Cameron on August 1, 2000.

• Winning pitcher Matt Shoemaker pitched innings 17 through 19 and retired all nine Red Sox hitters he faced. He's the second pitcher in team history to work three or more extra innings, not allow a baserunner, and pick up the win. Dan Osinski did it against the Athletics on September 6, 1963.

• Christian Vazquez drew the game's biggest collar (0-for-7), Boston's first number-nine hitter to go 0-for-7 in a game since Rick Miller did it in 15 innings on the final day of the 1976 season.

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The Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays followed that up with a 19-inning marathon of their own on Sunday.

At 6 hours 37 minutes, it was the longest game this season, six minutes more than Saturday's. The Jays had never before played a six-hour game (5:57 against the Yankees in 2001), and it was the second-longest known game in Tigers history. The team lists a record of 7:00 for a 22-inning affair (also against the Yankees, coincidentally) on April 24, 1962.

• According to Elias, it's the first time in major-league history that there have been games of 18 innings or longer on consecutive days, although take a look at June 8 of last season; it featured a 20- and an 18- on the same day, with the latter also involving the Blue Jays (vs Texas). There were two 18-inning affairs on August 15, 2006 (the only other time it's happened), and a 19- and a 21- happened two days apart in May 1973.

• The Tigers collected 22 hits on Sunday, thanks to having baserunners in nine of the 10 extra frames (though none ever scored). They are only the third team in the live-ball era to turn 22 or more hits into five runs or fewer. The Royals did it in 1995, in a 4-3 win over Detroit-- 21 of those hits were singles!-- and the Washington Senators did it in a 17-inning contest with the St. Louis Browns on May 12, 1934.

• Since the Blue Jays had never before played a 19-inning game, Jose Bautista's walk-off single was obviously the latest in team history. The previous mark stood for only 14 months: Rajai Davis won that game last June with a two-out single in the 18th. Elias also tells us that Bautista was the first player to be 0-for-7 (or worse) at the time of a walk-off hit since Mike Sharperson of the Dodgers beat the Braves with a 12th-inning single on July 27, 1990.

19 Innings By The Numbers

• Melky Cabrera had three hits and five walks (two intentional) in Sunday's contest, the first player to reach base eight times in a game since Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew went 5-for-7 plus three walks against the Brewers on May 12, 1972 (22 innings).

• For the Tigers, it was their first 19-inning game since April 27, 1984, when they lost 8-4 to Cleveland thanks to three errors in the 19th.

• Manager Brad Ausmus not only wasn't around for the end of Sunday’s game, he could have already been at the Tigers' next game. He was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the third inning, at 2:10 pm. According to Google Maps, it takes 4 hours 42 minutes to drive from Rogers Centre to PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Had Ausmus left right away, he would have arrived in the Steel City just in time to see Munenori Kawasaki's lineout to end the 16th.