07/27/11 3:38 AM ET
Marathon game rewrites record books
Braves, Pirates set marks for longest game in 19-inning affair
By Chris Cox / MLB.com
The Braves and Pirates rewrote history on Tuesday, when a 19-inning marathon wasn't decided until Scott Proctor's walk-off fielder's choice early the next morning, though it wasn't without controversy.
It was 1:50 a.m. ET, to be exact, when Julio Lugo was called safe at home plate by umpire Jerry Meals to give the Braves a 4-3 win, even though Pirates catcher Mike McKenry appeared to have tagged him out.
"That was crazy. I played an 18- or 19-inning game in A-ball," Proctor said. "It's just one of those [games]. Proud of the way the guys gutted it out all the way 'til the end."
The game -- which lasted a total of six hours, 39 minutes -- was the longest in terms of time for both clubs. It took six hours, 10 minutes before the Braves finally lost to the Mets on July 4, 1985, in Atlanta, while it took the Pirates six hours, 12 minutes to best the Padres in San Diego in 1979.
"It was awesome. It was fun just going out there," losing pitcher Daniel McCutchen said. "It was like backyard baseball -- no rules, just go. Normally, I would probably get in trouble for running that hard to first. It was fun. I was just throwing it up there and battling."
Conversely, the clubs' series opener on Monday evening didn't even start until 9:12 p.m. ET, thanks to a two-hour, two-minute rain delay, but it still ended earlier than its successor. That game -- which the Pirates won, 3-1 -- ended the next morning at 12:29 a.m.
"Too ... long. I'd like to have been asleep a couple of hours ago," Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer said, laughing. "Obviously, it makes it better that we won. That's always nice. But this game was way too long. We need to play a little shorter games."
It was the Braves' first 19-inning game since May 14, 1988, in St. Louis, when Atlanta outlasted the Cardinals, 7-5. The club played a 19-inning game three years earlier against the Mets, when the 16-13 loss took six hours, 10 minutes to complete.
Had Lugo not been safe in the 19th inning, the Braves likely would have matched their last 20-inning game, which came on May 4, 1973, against the Phillies.
"I've never been in a game this long," Lugo said. "I've been in some pretty good ones, but I've never been in such a long game like this. It was crazy."
Thankfully for the Braves, they didn't come close to matching the longest game in club history. That one -- which ended in a 1-1 tie -- came in Boston, when the Braves' staredown with Brooklyn lasted 26 innings.
The Pirates, meanwhile, played their longest game since a 20-inning marathon against the Cubs on July 6, 1980. Tuesday's loss was the seventh-latest-ending game in team history and the Bucs' second-latest-ending road game.
"We threw it all out there from 7:10 until the end," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "These are the challenges that come with a long season. I couldn't be prouder of our guys. The disappointing thing is to have the game finish the way it did -- on a wrong call."
Braves left fielder Martin Prado came close to matching some ignominious history. His 0-for-9 performance at the plate made him one of just 30 players in the live-ball era to go nine at-bats or more without recording a base hit. Charlie Pick established the dubious honor in 1920, when he put up goose eggs in 11 at-bats.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.