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10 longest postseason games in MLB history

October 18,2018 05:14

But how does that marathon compare to the others in MLB's 115-year playoff history? As it turns out, the Dodgers and Brewers don't even rank among the top 10 longest playoff games by number of innings. Here are those games: the 10 longest postseason ...and more »

Did you stay up all the way to the end of the Dodgers' walk-off win over the Brewers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series?
It took 13 innings and more than five hours to decide a winner -- that honor went to the home team, when Cody Bellinger drove in Manny Machado for the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th at Chavez Ravine.
But how does that marathon compare to the others in MLB's 115-year playoff history? As it turns out, the Dodgers and Brewers don't even rank among the top 10 longest playoff games by number of innings.
Here are those games: the 10 longest postseason games of all time.
1 (tie). Game 2, 2014 NLDS: Giants 2, Nationals 1 -- 18 inningsThe Nationals have had more than their fair share of agonizing playoff losses in the last decade. This was one of them. The Nats held a 1-0 lead entering the ninth inning in Washington, and Jordan Zimmermann 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 Drew Storen, who allowed a single to Buster Posey and a game-tying double to Pablo Sandoval. The Giants almost took the lead there, but Posey was thrown out at the plate to keep the game tied.
Video: Must C Close: Sandoval ties it, Posey out by inches
From there, neither team scored for the next eight innings. Finally, in the top of the 18th, Brandon Belt homered off Tanner Roark 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.
Video: Must C Clutch: Belt cranks tiebreaking shot in 18th
1 (tie). Game 4, 2005 NLDS: Astros 7, Braves 6 -- 18 inningsEntering 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 NLCS. 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.
Video: 2005 NLDS Gm4: Chris Burke's series-ending home run
3. Game 6, 1986 NLCS: Mets 7, Astros 6 -- 16 inningsThis 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.
Video: 1986 NLCS Gm6: Mets advance to World Series
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.
Video: 1986 NLCS Gm6: Mets tie game in 9th with three runs
4 (tie). Game 5, 1999 NLCS: Mets 4, Braves 3 -- 15 inningsThe 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.
Video: 1999 NLCS, Gm 5: Robin Ventura's grand slam single
4 (tie). Game 2, 1995 ALDS: Yankees 7, Mariners 5 -- 15 inningsThe late-1990s Yankees dynasty actually began the next year, when they won the first of four World Series in a five-year span. In 1995, Derek Jeter was a 21-year-old getting his first big league cup of coffee, and a rookie Mariano Rivera hadn't yet taken over the closer role from John Wetteland. But the Bronx Bombers were still a playoff team. But Game 2 of the ALDS actually set up a dramatic comeback in the series by the Mariners -- the Yankees' 15-inning win gave them a two-games-to-none lead, but the Mariners would rally to win the final three games in a row to advance to the ALCS.
Video: ALDS Gm2: Leyritz belts a walk-off homer in the 15th
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.
Video: 1995 ALDS, Gm 2: Mattingly homers in the postseason
6 (tie). Game 1, 2015 World Series: Royals 5, Mets 4 -- 14 inningsThe 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.
Video: Must C Clutch: Hosmer ends marathon with sac fly
The Royals opened the World Series with a bang -- Alcides Escobar 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 Alex Gordon 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 Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly brought home Alcides Escobar with the game-winning run.
Video: Must C Clutch: Gordon belts game-tying homer in 9th
6 (tie). Game 2, 2015 ALDS: Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4 -- 14 inningsThe most memorable game of this series was the deciding Game 5 -- the Jose Bautista 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.
Video: Must C Crucial: Rangers rally with two outs in 14th
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.
Video: TEX@TOR Gm2: Napoli ties game with RBI single in 8th
6 (tie). Game 3, 2005 World Series: White Sox 7, Astros 5 -- 14 inningsThe 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.
Video: 2005 WS Gm3: Buehrle closes out Game 3
6 (tie). Game 5, 2004 ALCS: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 -- 14 inningsThis 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.
6 (tie). Game 2, 1916 World Series: Red Sox 2, Robins 1 -- 14 inningsThe 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 1914. 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.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

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