Rays, O's combine to use 21 pitchers in longest game in both clubs' histories
ST. PETERSBURG -- There was plenty of baseball to be seen as Friday night's marathon Orioles-Rays game dragged into the wee hours of Saturday morning -- and plenty of Major League history to go along with it.
The Rays had never won a game longer than 14 innings until 2:05 a.m. ET on Saturday morning, when David DeJesus lined a single off Bud Norris to center field that brought home Desmond Jennings and kicked off a raucous celebration on the outfield grass.
It was six hours and 54 minutes after David Price's first pitch to Manny Machado, and the Rays had finally won, 5-4, in 18 innings, the longest game -- time-wise -- either team has ever played.
Tampa Bay and Baltimore combined to use 21 pitchers, a Major League record. The previous record of 20 occurred twice, most recently on Aug. 24 in an Arizona-Philadelphia game, the only contest this season to last longer (7:06) than the staring contest that unfolded Friday night at Tropicana Field.
It easily became the longest game in Tampa Bay's history, surpassing the previous marks for time (5:44, on July 17, 2011) and innings (16, twice). It went on longer than any game the Orioles have ever played, too, as their previous club record was 6:15, set on July 2, 2004, at Philadelphia.
"It was fun. Everyone contributed," said Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who was supposed to start Sunday's game, the third of four in this critical series. Instead, he wound up getting the win in the series opener between the two clubs gunning for a Wild Card spot.
The Rays used 11 pitchers, tying a Major League single-game record, and 28 players, a club record. They got 11 consecutive shutout innings to close out the victory. Manager Joe Maddon sent out every pitcher but Roberto Hernandez and Josh Lueke, both of whom he deemed unavailable given their recent workloads.
"I don't think they had a choice but to throw us out there," Hellickson said. "I was happy I kept us where we were at and we were able to come through in the 18th."
The Orioles used 10 pitchers, including Norris but not Steve Johnson or closer Jim Johnson, who warmed up several times. Their relievers put together 10 straight scoreless innings before Jennings crossed home plate.
And they needed just about every pitcher available to get through it, as both teams pitched so effectively that it appeared no end was in sight.
"That's good pitching right there," Jennings said. "Both teams did a great job pitching. The bullpens did what they had to do."
That included throwing a combined 593 pitches: 301 by the Rays, 292 by the Orioles. And everything -- the marathon game, the potential momentum, the postseason implications -- came down to the last one, which dunked into center field to end a record-setting September night in St. Petersburg.