The beautiful thing about baseball is you never know which game will provide a rare milestone or a moment that has never been seen before.
For example, I don't think anyone who attended the White Sox-Mariners game at Safeco Field last April 21 could have imagined witnessing Phil Humber throw only the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history.
By the same token, I doubt the 20,139 who showed up to watch those same two teams play Wednesday afternoon in Seattle could have imagined the unique type of history they were about to witness on this day, either. Actually, I should say the history those who actually stuck around for the entire 16 innings witnessed. Those who left after, say, 13 innings, pretty much missed everything there was to see.
Allow me to explain further: For 13 innings, the Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners played completely scoreless baseball, which in and of itself is pretty unique. The White Sox then exploded for five runs in the 14th inning, and seemingly had the game iced away when the baseball was turned over to closer Addison Reed.
A funny thing happened, though. Reed had one of those off innings that closers tend to have in non-save situations, which means before you knew it Seattle had the bases loaded with the tying run coming to the plate. The first hitter to take a crack at tying the game was Jason Bay. Reed eventually put him away with a filthy slider after a lengthy battle for the second out. That brought up third baseman Kyle Seager, and with one swing, a tremendous amount of history was made.
When Seager's ball eventually landed in the right field seats, this baseball game became the first in MLB history to go scoreless for the first nine innings, and end up with both teams scoring at least five runs. That's according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias also tells us that Kyle Seager is now the third player since 1945 to hit an extra-inning grand slam that didn't give his team the lead, and the first whose extra-inning grand slam tied a game.
On a sidenote, we're not sure what the record is for longest silence by a play-by-play announcer following a critical play in a game, but we're guessing Hawk Harrelson's 40 seconds here have to be in the Top 5. A Top 5 that also undoubtedly includes four other Hawk Harrelson silences.
The teams then played a scoreless 15th inning before the White Sox scratched out two more runs against Hector Noesi to take a 7-5 lead. The White Sox had little choice but to stick with Reed for a third inning since there were no other relievers available and they certainly didn't want to dip into their starting rotation. Impressively, Reed had enough left in the tank to finish it off, but the price was 55 total pitches. That's an ideal workload for your closer in a given week, but Reed expended it all in one day.
We're sure the entire 14th inning and the messy bullpen scenario it created would have caused manager Robin Ventura a headache had he been around to see it, but he was actually among the people who left early. Not for an ejection, either, he had a flight to catch for his daughter's graduation.
So yes, this game really did provide all kinds of unique moments and circumstances. But the ultimate result for the White Sox is the merciful end to their painful eight-game losing streak. In other words, this victory probably feels just as sweet as Humber's perfecto some 14 months earlier.