Relive the longest postseason games ever

October 16th, 2022

It was an epic contest that lasted six hours and 22 minutes, as well as 18 innings, but the Astros advanced to their American League record sixth consecutive League Championship Series with a 1-0 victory over the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Saturday night.

How does that marathon compare to the others in MLB's century-plus playoff history? Here are the 13 longest postseason games of all time:

1 (tie). Game 3, 2022 American League Division Series: Astros 1, Mariners 0 -- 18 innings
In the first postseason game played in Seattle in 21 years, the Astros and Mariners were scoreless into the 18th inning thanks to tremendous pitching that resulted in a combined 42 strikeouts in the contest. But Houston's latest postseason hero was a rookie -- Jeremy Peña launched a go-ahead homer off Penn Murfee and reliever Luis Garcia closed out the series-clinching victory with a 1-2-3 bottom of the frame.

Garcia was a hero among heroes on the mound for Houston, going five innings in which he yielded only two hits and struck out six. Overall, after starter Lance McCullers Jr. went six strong innings, seven Astros relievers combined to go 12 innings in which they gave up just five hits while walking one and striking out 15.

1 (tie). Game 3, 2018 World Series: Dodgers 3, Red Sox 2 -- 18 innings
In the longest postseason game, in terms of time, in MLB history (seven hours, 20 minutes), the Dodgers beat the Red Sox on a Muncy walk-off home run in the 18th inning to cut their Series deficit to 2-1. The two clubs combined to use 18 pitchers and 46 players overall in the contest, both postseason records. With the victory, Los Angeles became the first team to ever win a World Series game after trailing in the 11th inning or later.

Dodgers starter tossed seven scoreless innings before homered off closer with two outs in the eighth inning to tie the game at 1 (the lone L.A. run to that point came courtesy of a solo homer from ). In the top of the 13th, an infield single, coupled with a Dodgers error enabled to score the go-ahead run. But Los Angeles responded in the bottom half of the frame, when produced an infield single of his own, and an throwing error allowed Muncy to score from second.

From there, it was a duel of the bullpens, with each side matching the other with zeros on the scoreboard until Muncy's heroics in the 18th inning.

1 (tie). Game 2, 2014 National League Division Series: Giants 2, Nationals 1 -- 18 innings
The Nationals have had more than their fair share of agonizing playoff losses in the past decade. This was one of them. The Nats held a 1-0 lead entering the ninth inning in Washington, and was dominating. The righty had thrown eight shutout innings, and he took the mound for the top of the ninth. He got two quick outs -- giving him 20 straight batters retired -- but then walked Joe Panik. Matt Williams replaced Zimmermann with , who allowed a single to and a game-tying double to . The Giants almost took the lead there, but Posey was thrown out at the plate to keep the game tied.

From there, neither team scored for the next eight innings. Finally, in the top of the 18th, homered off to break the tie, and the Giants held on. The game took six hours, 23 minutes -- the longest postseason game on record by time as well as innings. The Giants would eliminate the Nationals in four games and go on to win the World Series.

1 (tie). Game 4, 2005 NLDS: Astros 7, Braves 6 -- 18 innings
Entering Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS, the Astros already held the record for longest postseason game -- their 16-inning Game 6 loss to the Mets in the 1986 NL Championship Series. They topped that one here, with a win that sent them to the NLCS. Their record has since been equaled, but not broken. One crazy fact: Tim Hudson, who started the 18-inning playoff game for the Giants in 2014, also started this one for the Braves.

The Braves jumped out to a 5-0 lead, thanks to a grand slam by Adam LaRoche, and led 6-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Astros got four back in the eighth when Lance Berkman crushed a grand slam of his own. Then, down to their last out in the ninth, they tied the game on Brad Ausmus' home run off Kyle Farnsworth. The score stayed 6-6 until the bottom of the 18th, when unlikely hero Chris Burke ended the game, and the series, with one big swing.

5. Game 6, 1986 NLCS: Mets 7, Astros 6 -- 16 innings
This game stood as the record for the longest in the postseason for close to two decades. Like the Astros-Braves contest that eclipsed it, this one was a series clincher. The Mets beat Houston at the Astrodome to move on to the World Series against the Red Sox, setting the stage for one of the most memorable Fall Classics of all time.

Looking for the clinch, the Mets were baffled for eight innings by Bob Knepper, who took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. But the Mets rallied for three runs off Knepper and reliever Dave Smith to equalize. The extra innings were thrilling. Wally Backman knocked a go-ahead single for the Mets in the top of the 14th, only for the Astros to tie the game in the bottom of the 14th on Billy Hatcher's homer off Jesse Orosco. The Mets scored three more times in the top of the 16th; the Astros rallied for two in the bottom of the 16th, and had the tying run in scoring position with two outs. But Orosco struck out Kevin Bass to end the game, and the Mets advanced.

6 (tie). Game 2, 2022 American League Wild Card Series: Guardians 1, Rays 0 -- 15 innings
Sixteen pitchers racked up 39 total strikeouts in this marathon pitchers' duel, allowing just 10 hits and eight walks through the first 14 innings. That was before Oscar Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 15th with his series-clinching walk-off home run off former Cleveland ace , the eighth pitcher out of the Rays' bullpen. In sending the Guardians to the ALDS, Gonzalez joined an exclusive club, becoming just the 13th player in MLB history to clinch a postseason series with a walk-off home run.

6 (tie). Game 5, 1999 NLCS: Mets 4, Braves 3 -- 15 innings
The Mets won another marathon in the 1999 playoffs, a 15-inning victory against the rival Braves in the NLCS that took five hours, 46 minutes. But there was no World Series trip awaiting them this time, as Atlanta would go on to win the series in Game 6 two days later.

The Mets won Game 5 on a play that is iconic for its oddity: Robin Ventura's grand slam single. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 15th, the game tied 3-3, Ventura crushed what should have been a walk-off grand slam over the right-center-field wall at Shea Stadium. And it was a walk-off… but it went into the scorebooks as a single when a celebrating Ventura abandoned his home run trot after only touching first base.

6 (tie). Game 2, 1995 American League Division Series: Yankees 7, Mariners 5 -- 15 innings
Game 2 of the ALDS actually set up a dramatic comeback in the series by the Mariners -- the Yanks' 15-inning win gave them a 2-0 series lead, but the Mariners would rally to win the final three games in a row to advance to the ALCS.

Game 2 at Yankee Stadium was a back-and-forth slugfest, with six home runs between the two teams. Among the highlights: a sixth-inning shot by Don Mattingly (his only career postseason home run, after finally making the playoffs in his final season in pinstripes); a go-ahead homer by Ken Griffey Jr. for the Mariners in the top of the 12th (the Yankees would tie the game in the bottom half); and, of course, Jim Leyritz's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th.

9 (tie). Game 1, 2015 World Series: Royals 5, Mets 4 -- 14 innings
The record for longest World Series game is a three-way tie at 14 innings, with the most recent being the Royals' 5-4 win over the Mets in the opening game of the 2015 Fall Classic. The win sent Kansas City on its way to the franchise's first championship since 1985.

The Royals opened the World Series with a bang -- hit a first-pitch inside-the-park home run off Matt Harvey leading off the bottom of the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. But it was the Mets who led Game 1, 4-3, entering the ninth. That's when crushed the game-tying home run to dead center field to send the game to extras. The Royals completed the rally in the bottom of the 14th, when 's sacrifice fly brought home Alcides Escobar with the game-winning run.

9 (tie). Game 2, 2015 ALDS: Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4 -- 14 innings
The most memorable game of this series was the deciding Game 5 -- the bat flip game. But before Joey Bats won the Blue Jays the series, capping a comeback from down 2-0, the Rangers pulled out this 14-inning affair on the road in Game 2.

Most of the offense came early, although the Rangers did get a much-needed pinch-hit, game-tying single from Mike Napoli with two outs in the eighth, which helped push the game to extra innings. The Rangers held off Toronto until they broke through with a two-out rally in the 14th, stringing together four straight hits and scoring twice for the decisive runs.

9 (tie). Game 3, 2005 World Series: White Sox 7, Astros 5 -- 14 innings
The White Sox lost just one playoff game on their way to the 2005 World Series title, going 11-1 in a dominant postseason, including a sweep of the Astros in the Fall Classic. But those wins were hard-fought, especially Game 3 of the World Series, the only extra-inning game the White Sox played during their title run.

Chicago's only offense in the first nine innings came during a five-run fifth, capped by a go-ahead two-run double by A.J. Pierzynski off Roy Oswalt. But after the Astros tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, the White Sox needed extras to get the win. Geoff Blum hit the tiebreaking home run off Ezequiel Astacio in the 14th, and Mark Buehrle got the final out in relief -- just two days after he pitched seven innings in Chicago's Game 2 win.

9 (tie). Game 5, 2004 ALCS: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 -- 14 innings
This game was part of one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history -- the Red Sox's unprecedented rally to beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS after being down three games to none. The night before, in Game 4 at Fenway Park, that comeback had begun with Dave Roberts' steal, Boston's ninth-inning rally against Mariano Rivera and David Ortiz's walk-off homer in the 12th inning. In Game 5, Big Papi did it again.

The Red Sox needed a late-inning rally just to force extra innings. Ortiz -- who else? -- got it started with a homer leading off the eighth to get the Sox within one. A few batters later, Jason Varitek hit the game-tying sacrifice fly off Rivera, and into extra innings it went. No one scored until the bottom of the 14th. With two on and two out, just over five hours after the game began, Big Papi was the hero again, lining the walk-off single to center field.

9 (tie). Game 2, 1916 World Series: Red Sox 2, Robins 1 -- 14 innings
The Red Sox and Brooklyn Robins -- now the Dodgers, of course -- established the World Series benchmark when they played this 14-inning World Series game all the way back in 1916. No postseason game would go longer for the next 60 years, until the Mets-Astros NLCS Game 6 in 1986. In the good old days of the dead ball era, this game lasted only two hours, 32 minutes.

The winning pitcher for the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1916 Fall Classic? None other than Babe Ruth. The Babe, still in a Boston uniform and still a pitcher, lasted all 14 innings while allowing just a single run. He also plated a run himself with an RBI groundout in the third, which stood as the Red Sox's only offense until the bottom of the 14th, when Del Gainer knocked the walk-off single to give Boston the win. The Red Sox would go on to win one of their last World Series before Ruth was sold to the Yankees and the Curse of the Bambino began.