A bunch of big leaguers became marathon men on Saturday.
The Miami Marlins needed 20 innings to outlast the New York Mets 2-1, overlapping for much of the afternoon and early evening with the Toronto Blue Jays' 4-3 win against the Texas Rangers in 18 innings.
It was the first time two games in the majors on the same day lasted that long since Aug. 15, 2006, when the matchups of Cubs-Astros and Diamondbacks-Rockies each went 18 innings, STATS said.
“It’s neat, man,” said Miami pitcher Kevin Slowey, who earned the win with seven innings of shutout relief. “I tell you what, that’s part of what’s amazing about baseball: There’s always a capacity to come back and tie it up.”
The Marlins and Mets played the longest major league game in more than three years. They threw a combined 561 pitches and took 6 hours, 25 minutes in New York.
“You play 20 innings, you’ve got to win that game,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said.
Texas played 18 innings for the fifth time in its history, last doing it on June 24, 2004, with a 9-7 win over Seattle.
Toronto had played 18 innings once before, beating the Angels on July 28, 2005. Texas reliever Jason Frasor pitched one inning for the Blue Jays that day _ he also worked an inning for the Rangers in this extended affair.
Frasor said these long games are mentally draining for relievers, as well as position players.
“If you’re sitting down in the bullpen, it’s just the anticipation, the preparation, it just exhausts you,” Frasor said. “You’re going, `Is this going to be me, is this going to me be?’ and then it’s not you. You just keep waiting and waiting and it’s exhausting.”
Probably the same thing for Rob Brantly of the Marlins and John Buck of the Mets _ both catchers played the whole way. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a go-ahead single for Miami in the 20th.
“I’ve got the advantage of youth right now,” the 23-year-old Brantly said. “But 20 innings takes its toll.”
The game began 5 1/2 hours before the Belmont Stakes about 13 miles away _ and still ended around an hour after winner Palace Malice crossed the finish line.
The last big league game to last as long also involved the Mets, according to STATS. It came when they beat St. Louis 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010.