Saturday’s marathon between the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals was one of the more memorable games of the season. At 14 innings and lasting 5 hours and 40 minutes, there were plenty of twists and turns.
The 15-14 win was crucial for the Brewers, as it moved them within a game of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs atop the NL Central and second Wild Card spot.
Here are four of the craziest moment from an already wild game.
No lead is safe, not even with an All-Star closer
After overcoming 5-0 and 8-5 deficits in the middle innings, the Nationals had to be feeling good after handing the ball over to Sean Doolittle in the ninth. Very little has gone right for their bullpen this season, but their All-Star lefty has been an oasis in a desert of pitching mediocrity.
But a three-run lead was unfortunately not safe. Christian Yelich hit a leadoff home run (more on him later), which was followed by a double and two more homers from Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun.
It’s fair to suggest Doolittle has worn down over the season — his 49 games finished are the most in baseball — since he’s given up multiple runs in three of his last five outings. With 10 runs allowed in his last 4 innings, his ERA has risen from 2.81 to 4.33. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with knee tendinitis, needing rest.
However, fellow All-Star lefty Josh Hader was kind enough to return the favor with the Brewers and blew his own save on a Victor Robles single. Hader may also be overworked — his 56 2/3 innings are 18th-most in baseball among full-time relievers — as he’s given up a run in six of his last seven outings.
Christian Yelich is back with a vengeance
The reigning NL MVP had been struggling since returning from a back injury that kept him out for four games. Heading into Saturday's contest, he was just 1-for-15 with six strikeouts.
But Yelich could only be held down so long, as he went 5-for-6 with a pair of home runs and a stolen base, becoming the first player to reach 40 home runs and 20 stolen bases this season. His second home run tied him with Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout for the major league lead at 41.
Yelich’s first bomb sparked the ninth-inning rally — it was the first homer Doolittle allowed to a lefty since 2016 — and the second one briefly gave the Brewers the lead in the 13th. Robles came back to tie it, once again, in the bottom of the frame with a sacrifice fly off Junior Guerra.
Guerra takes the win, and Guerra takes the loss
One of the strangest quirks of the game was that both players to take decisions had the surname Guerra. That’s a fairly common name — there are three to appear in the majors this season — but Guerra is no Anderson (nine to appear this season), Ramirez (six), Smith (six), Davis (five) or Rodriguez (five).
Junior Guerra had a chance to earn a save after taking over for Jeremy Jeffress mid-way through the 13th inning. However, the single he gave up to Robles blew that opportunity and instead eventually gifted him the win. (This is a good reminder how dumb the win stat is.)
The Nationals turned to Javy Guerra in the 14th inning, but he walked Braun to lead off the inning before serving up the decisive home run to Eric Thames.
Both teams exhausted their benches and bullpens
With a game this long, especially in the National League, teams can run out of options quickly. And by the 14th inning, both teams completely emptied their benches and bullpens.
That became an issue for the Nationals, when they had to send right-hander Joe Ross up to bat for what became their final out. With no pinch-hitters left, they had to let a career .181 hitter come to the plate. And to be fair, even if they had an extra batter available, they would have had to turn to Sunday’s starter, Erick Fedde, to pitch the rest of the way.
Sadly the only thing missing from Saturday’s game was a position player pitching. But given how taxed their bullpens are now, if Sunday’s game gets out of hand, fans could be treated to a position player taking the mound.
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