Top moments of 2014: The Marathon
#8 The Marathon
19 innings and a little over six and a half hours of baseball is what it took to defeat the Detroit Tigers on August 10th, setting the record for the longest game in franchise history.
Given the way the game started, with starter Mark Buehrle lasting only three and a third innings, it’s shocking the Jays were able to avoid using their rotation or positional players to continue the fight, deep in extra innings.
In reality, it’s surprising the Jays were able to surmount the 5-0 deficit Buehrle left the Jays with in the fourth inning but they did with some truly incredible team play in the later innings of that mid-summer Sunday.
Dioner Navarro set the ball in motion in the sixth inning as he chipped away at the lead with a two-run home-run, driving in Danny Valencia from second after a timely two-out double.
The Jays were able to follow suit the following inning as well with back-to-back singles from Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to cut the lead to 5-4 with two innings remaining. It would be Reyes again who came through for the boys in blue as he drove in the speedy Anthony Gose from second on a line-drive to tie the game and force extra innings.
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Todd Redmond tossed a solid two and two thirds of an inning on the afternoon before giving way to rookie Aaron Sanchez who was given the ball in yet another high stakes situation. Sanchez performed admirably, pitching a scoreless three innings of relief, allowing one hit while striking out four. He gave way to Brett Cecil who continued the bullpen success in his short one inning and a third of work while allowing Dustin McGowan to clean up his only allowed hit in the top of the eleventh inning.
The combo was able to stave off a Tigers offensive before giving way to Casey Janssen and Aaron Loup who shut-down the Tigers into the fourteenth inning. There, the youngster Chad Jenkins took over and carved himself into the runnings for play of the game with a strong six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits while walking one and striking out four.
This set the table for Jays offence in the bottom of the nineteenth as Munenori Kawasaki led off with a single followed by a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk to Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera. Jose Bautista stood at the dish with the bases loaded and no one out and delivered a single to right-field to drive in Kawasaki for the winning run.
For Bautista, this was his only hit of the afternoon that turned to evening as he was 0 for 7 with an intentional walk heading into his game-winning at-bat in the bottom of the nineteenth inning Sunday.
The win marked the longest game in Blue Jays history and was one remembered by Jays fans as the game that had no end. It would have been nice if the club used this as a swing game to push them back into playoff contention instead of playing to the tune of a 9-17 win-loss record in August, extinguishing any real shot at post-season contention.