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Five Longest Games in MLB History

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox met the Tampa Bay Rays for a game in Tampa. After the top of the first inning, the Red Sox led 6-0 and it looked like it would be a short night at the ballpark. But the Rays scrapped and clawed and fought back, and tied the game. The BoSox ultimately won the game, but it took 14 innings and ended after midnight!

For as long as that game was, it was nothing compared to two games over the weekend. The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers played 18 innings before the Blue Jays won, 4-3. Not to be outdone, the Mets and Marlins needed 20 innings (!!) to reach an end to their game. The Marlins took the victory, 2-1.

Twenty innings is a lot of baseball. Surely it set some sort of record for length of a game, right? Wrong.

Here are the five longest baseball games in MLB history:

1. May 1, 1920 — Brooklyn Robins at Boston Braves, 26 innings
The Robins (later called the Dodgers) and the Braves played to a 1-1 tie. Umpires called the game because of darkness.

2. September 11, 1974 — St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets, 25 innings
The Cardinals defeated the Mets 4-3. And while no team wants to be on the losing end of such a long game, the Mets lost in the worst possible way: An error on a pickoff attempt. Nothin' Amazin' about that.

3. May 8, 1984 — Chicago White Sox vs Milwaukee Brewers, 25 innings
This game holds the record for longest game in terms of time. It took the White Sox 8 hours and 6 minutes to beat the Brewers, 7-6.

4. September 1, 1906 — Philadelphia Athletics at Boston Americans, 24 innings
The A's outlasted the Americans (later called the Red Sox) and won 4-1. But because the game happened so long ago, there isn't a whole lot of other information that survives about it.

5. July 21, 1945 — Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Athletics, 24 innings
The only runs in this game were scored in the fourth and seventh innings and the game ended in a 1-1 tie when it was called after 24 innings.

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So where does the Mets-Marlins game from Saturday rank? Not even in the top 10. According to Baseball Almanac, there have been at least 17 games played in MLB history that went at least 20 innings. But we're only near the midpoint of the season. There's still plenty of time for the Mets, Marlins or some other team to crack the 21-inning barrier!

Photo: AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill