8 wild facts about the 18-inning Game 3 nail-biter
Before Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Saturday, it had been 21 years since the Mariners last hosted a playoff game. So, despite Seattle coming into the game facing elimination, it was only fitting for that first playoff game in two decades to be one for the ages -- a 18-inning marathon between division rivals that necessitated the use of 18 pitchers and was won, ultimately, by a score of 1-0, closing out a series sweep for the ALCS-bound Astros.
But it’s hard to let go of a game as hard-fought and meaningful as this one. So as the dust settles on an epic and heartbreaking clincher, here are eight facts worth remembering about it.
• Jeremy Peña, the night’s ultimate hero, broke the scoreless tie and quieted the packed house of Mariners fans with his 18th-inning home run. With that shot, he became just the third rookie in postseason history to homer in extra innings -- and the second in 2022, after the Guardians’ Oscar Gonzalez did so in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.
• Not only was this the fourth postseason game to go at least 18 innings, it was the first to remain scoreless through 17, surpassing the previous record of 14 innings set just a week ago in Cleveland's clinching game of the AL Wild Card Series. Neither offense was likely to be held down for 17 innings, either. Houston scored the third most runs in the AL in 2022, and while Seattle’s regular-season offense was in line with league average, the Mariners came into the postseason on a tear, having scored 4.7 runs per game in the final month of the season.
18+ inning postseason games:
• 2022 ALDS Game 3, Astros vs. Mariners (1-0 Astros win)
• 2018 WS Game 3, Red Sox vs. Dodgers (3-2 Dodgers win)
• 2014 NLDS Game 2, Giants vs. Nationals (2-1 Giants win)
• 2005 NLDS Game 4, Braves vs. Astros (7-6 Astros win)
• The drought can’t entirely be blamed on the hitters. Astros and Mariners pitching put on a clinic all throughout the night, racking up 42 combined strikeouts -- the most in any playoff game, and the most in any game at all since Sept. 24, 2019, when the Cardinals and D-backs combined for 48 over 19 innings.
• The 18 pitchers who appeared in Game 3 threw a whopping 498 pitches -- the third-most in any postseason game, and the most in 2022 overall by 52.
• At 6 hours and 22 minutes, the game also clocked in as the third longest in postseason history, just one minute shy of the 383-minute affair that was Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS.
• Leadoff man and postseason veteran Jose Altuve went 0-for-8 against Mariners pitching, becoming just the sixth player in postseason history to achieve the unfortunate feat. Ironically, one of the previous five was Astros legend Craig Biggio, who went 0-for-8 in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS against the Braves.
• Covering the second of the three true outcomes, just four walks were issued over 18 innings -- but there were five hit batsmen, tied for the most in any postseason game (2016 NLDS Game 4, WSH vs. LAD).
• Regardless of the game’s outcome, Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh was deserving of player of the game honors -- he became just the fourth player in postseason history to catch at least 17 innings of a game.
Behind the plate for 17+ innings, postseason history:
1-T. Cal Raleigh (SEA): 18.0 innings, 2022 ALDS Game 3
1-T. Buster Posey (SF): 18 innings, 2014 NLDS Game 2
1-T. Wilson Ramos (WSH): 18.0 innings, 2014 NLDS Game 2
4. Brian McCann (ATL): 17.1 innings, 2005 NLDS Game 4