MLB’s implementation of the “runner on second base” rule was supposed to help shorten extra-innings games. Largely, it has worked, as no game had lasted longer than 13 innings since the rule went into effect.
Well, at least none had until Wednesday night. The Dodgers and Padres beat the previous record by three innings, playing a 16-inning contest that Los Angeles ended up winning 5-3 thanks to an AJ Pollock home run in the top of the 16th.
In each of the first five extra innings, the Dodgers and Padres both failed to score despite having the runner on second base with nobody out to start the inning.
“This was really weird,” Padres starter Blake Snell said of the game, per ESPN. “Both teams have stacked lineups, can really hit, and I mean, when did we score more than just one run? The 15th inning? What is that? It was just weird.”
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The game continued to be weird into the 15th inning. The Dodgers scored twice to take a two-run lead and Corey Knebel was on to pitch for them. After recording one out, he balked intentionally to move the runner on second base over to third. Presumably, he made that move to make it harder for the runner on second to see the signs the catcher was putting down.
Originally, the balk wasn’t called, but he did it again and it was. On the very next pitch, Fernando Tatis Jr. blasted a game-tying homer.
Before that swing, Tatis had been 0-for-6, but the homer sent the game into a 16th inning. Ultimately, Pollock’s two-run homer in the top of the 16th and gave the Dodgers enough for the win.
In total, the game lasted 5 hours and 49 minutes. The teams combined to use 19 pitchers and threw a combined 489 pitches. Additionally, the Dodgers set a record by intentionally walking eight batters, the most since MLB started tracking the stat in 1955, per ESPN.
Certainly, the game was an unusual one. After the game, the players and managers alike were exhausted.
“I’m pretty beat,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But you feel a lot better after a win.”
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