Actually, "marathon" isn't quite the right word to describe Saturday's game between the Mets and Cardinals, because no respectable distance runner would ever need six hours and 53 minutes to finish a 26.2 mile race.
It would be more appropriate to say that New York and St. Louis engaged in an epic filibuster on Saturday. The 20-inning contest featured 35 stranded runners, 19 different pitchers (two of whom were actually position players), and the longest scoreless stretch in the major leagues in over 20 years. It was hardly a clinic, nor was it a fantasy smorgasbord. The Cards left the bases loaded three times in extra innings. The top six spots in the Mets' lineup combined to go 3-for-41.
"That was pretty crazy," said New York manager Jerry Manuel.
Indeed. Let's review a few of the details…
• The game featured 652 total pitches, 159 plate appearances, and 46 players.
• New York closer Francisco Rodriguez estimated that he threw more than 100 warm-up pitches in the bullpen. He described his arm as "totally dead" by the time he entered the game in the 19th. Not surprisingly, K-Rod allowed two hits, one walk, and the Cards' only run.
• Albert Pujols(notes) was intentionally walked in the 12th and 14th innings, with the pitcher's spot due up. That's right: the pitcher's spot followed Pujols. Matt Holliday(notes) had exited the game in an 11th inning double-switch after going 0-for-5.
"Once that showed up," said Manuel, "we decided, hey, we're not going to let (Pujols) beat us."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn't seem to regret the Holliday decision, however. This via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"I looked at five at-bats for a guy who got punched out three times, who's obviously not himself — he's forcing it. I think it's kind of criminal to leave him in the game."
• The Mets were no-hit by St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia(notes) for five innings. The 23-year-old lefty struck out five batters in seven frames. He's owned in just 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Angel Pagan's(notes) single in the sixth was the only hit yielded by Garcia.
• Infielder Felipe Lopez(notes) pitched the 18th for St. Louis, allowing one hit, one walk and no runs. He also switched positions three times, moving from shortstop to third base to pitcher, then back to third.
• Another position player, Joe Mather(notes), relieved Lopez on the mound in the 19th … and he looked like a non-pitcher. Mather took the loss after giving up two hits, two runs, three walks (two intentional) and hitting a batter.
• Saturday's 20-inning
chess checkers got-your-nose match was not actually the longest game that's been played between these two teams. On September 11, 1974, the Cards beat the Mets 4-3 in a contest that lasted 25 innings. Three players went 4-for-10 that day (Bake McBride, Ken Reitz, Feliz Millan). Claude Osteen pitched 9.1 scoreless innings in relief. Sonny Siebert was your winner, Hank Webb the loser.
Photos via AP Images