Blue Jays, Marlins emerge victorious in pair of marathon games

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The Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets combined for 38 innings of baseball as the four teams engaged in two marathon games this afternoon. The Jays defeated the Rangers 4-3 in 18 innings while the Marlins emerged victorious over the Mets 2-1 in 20 innings.

It is the Jays’ second game lasting at least 17 innings in the last nine days, as they lost 4-3 to the Padres in 17 on May 31. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third against Rangers starter Yu Darvish on a two-run triple by Colby Rasmus, who scored on Jurickson Profar’s throwing error. Jeff Baker hit a solo home run in the seventh to put the Rangers on the board, the only blemish on Mark Buehrle’s line over seven frames. In the ninth against closer Casey Janssen, the Rangers scored twice on an A.J. Pierzynski RBI single and an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly to tie the game at three apiece.

From there, the Jays relied on a handful of relievers while the Rangers called on Ross Wolf to make what turned out to be the equivalent of a start. Wolf entered in the 12th and didn’t leave until two outs in the 18th when the Jays walked off. With one out, Emilio Bonifacio singled. Wolf was trying to keep Bonifacio’s lead to a minimum and attempted to pick him off at first base, but made an errant throw which allowed Bonifacio to move to third base with one out. Rajai Davis got ahead 1-0 before singling to left to drive in the winning run.

As a Redditor pointed out, the pitchers of record were Aaron Loup (winner) and Ross Wolf (loser). “Loup” is French for “wolf”.

Today’s 18-inning affair matches the longest in Jays history, set on July 28, 2005 when they defeated the Angels 2-1. It is the longest game in Rangers history.

In the National League, Marlins starter Jose Fernandez went pound-for-pound with Mets starter Matt Harvey. Fernandez held the Mets to one run — a Juan Lagares RBI double in the second — over six innings. Harvey held the Fish to one run — a Chris Coghlan sacrifice fly in the fourth — over seven innings. He left the game with lower back tightness.

Both teams quickly exhausted their bullpens before relying on starters. For the Mets, Shaun Marcum held the Marlins scoreless on two hits over his first seven innings with seven strikeouts. He tired in his eighth inning of work, however, surrendering three consecutive singles to Placido Polanco, Rob Brantly, and Adeiny Hechavarria to put the Marlins up 2-1. Kevin Slowey held the Mets scoreless on eight hits over seven innings, striking out eight in the process. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless 20th for the save.

It was the first game of 20 innings or longer for any Major League team since the Mets defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 on April 17, 2010.

It is tied for the longest game in Marlins history. The Mets and Cardinals went 25 innings on September 11, 1974.

Tony Clark: among players, the universal DH “is gaining momentum”

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway: enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.