A postseason first: 11 innings, zero runs

October 1st, 2020

Eleven innings, and zeroes across the board. That was the unprecedented situation in Wednesday afternoon’s National League Wild Card Series Game 1 between the Reds and Braves at Atlanta’s Truist Park.

In postseason history, this was the first game to make it through the 11th inning with neither team having scored a single run. The scoreless tie eventually extended into the bottom of the 13th inning, when Freddie Freeman’s walk-off single gave Atlanta a 1-0 victory to begin the best-of-three series.

Four previous postseason games had been scoreless through 10 innings, but each of those ended in the 11th. The most recent was Game 6 of the 1997 American League Championship Series, in which Cleveland beat Baltimore, 1-0, in 11.

The Braves had one of MLB’s best offenses this season, but they couldn’t get much going against NL Cy Young Award candidate , who struck out 12 over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Atlanta’s kept pace with Bauer, throwing zeroes for seven frames before the bullpen took the baton.

Here are nine more facts to know about this low-scoring battle:

• In addition to being the longest shutout in postseason history, it was the Braves’ longest shutout victory since they defeated the Cardinals, 3-0, on Aug. 28, 1999, in St. Louis, getting a 10-inning start from Kevin Millwood.

• There were 37 combined strikeouts, the most in a game in postseason history (21 by Reds pitchers, 16 by Braves pitchers). The prior record was 34, in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series between the Red Sox and Dodgers, and in Game 2 of the '14 NLDS between the Giants and Nationals. Each of those games went 18 innings.

• Despite the loss, the 21 strikeouts by Reds pitchers tied for the second most recorded by a team in a postseason game. The 1996 Indians hold that record, striking out 23 Orioles in Game 4 of the '99 ALDS, a 12-inning loss.

• Bauer became the first pitcher in postseason history to have a scoreless start with at least 12 strikeouts and zero walks. His 12 K’s also set the Reds’ single-game postseason record. Homer Bailey was the only other Cincinnati pitcher to strike out double digits in a playoff game -- he had 10 in Game 3 of the 2012 NLDS.

• Bauer and Fried became the eighth pair of opposing starting pitchers to both pitch seven or more scoreless innings in a postseason game in MLB history, and the first since Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard in the Giants-Mets 2016 NL Wild Card Game.

• This was the longest postseason win, by innings, in Braves history. Previously, the franchise had played two playoff games that were longer, but both were losses. They fell to the Astros in 18 innings in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS, and to the Mets in 15 innings in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS.

• This was the first postseason game in Reds history to go to the 13th inning. The franchise’s previous long was 12 innings, set in a win over the Mets in Game 4 of the 1973 NLCS, and matched in a famous loss to the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. That was the game in which Boston's Carlton Fisk beat Cincinnati with a walk-off homer -- the Reds' most recent postseason walk-off defeat before Wednesday.

• Before Freeman’s walk-off single, the teams had combined to go 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position while leaving 22 runners on base.

• The Braves used seven relievers behind Fried, each holding Cincinnati scoreless. That made Atlanta only the second team in postseason history to have eight pitchers allow zero runs in the same game. In Game 4 of the 2018 NLCS, the Dodgers had eight relievers hold the Brewers scoreless in a 13-inning victory.