NEW YORK — Two full games, plus two more innings. A total of 561 pitches. And when it was finally (FINALLY!) over, the worst team in baseball had its 17th win of the season.
The Miami Marlins sure worked hard for this one.
In the longest major league game in more than three years, Adeiny Hechavarria hit an RBI single in the 20th inning and Miami outlasted the New York Mets 2-1 on Saturday, well after Matt Harvey left with lower back tightness following another stingy start.
“It was amazing,” winning pitcher Kevin Slowey said. “It was an amazing game.”
Steve Cishek retired Daniel Murphy on a fly ball to the left-field warning track for the final out of a game that took 6 hours, 25 minutes. It started 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 go 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.
It was the longest game by far in the history of Citi Field, which opened in 2009, and it matched the longest in Marlins history — a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals in 20 innings on April 27, 2003.
“You play 20 innings, you’ve got to win that game,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
Harvey and Miami’s prized rookie, Jose Fernandez, hooked up in a pitchers’ duel early. And when neither punchless lineup could break a 1-all tie, the only saving grace for both teams was that neither had played since Wednesday and both had fresh arms in the bullpen.
By the 13th inning, the game had been turned over to a pair of starters: Slowey and Shaun Marcum for the Mets. Both were originally scheduled to start Saturday before getting skipped when Friday night’s game was rained out.
A scattered crowd of 20,338 had dwindled perhaps into the hundreds by the time the stadium sound system played Chuck Berry‘s “No Particular Place To Go” not long after the 14th-inning stretch.
Some of the fans who remained chanted “Let’s Go Home!” as the Mets came to bat in the 17th. But it took three more innings to decide this one, and it was Miami that came out on top.
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