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Giants, Rockies set record for most pitchers used in a game

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Last night’s Rockies-Giants game started normally enough, with Madison Bumgarner going seven innings. The game itself lasted sixteen innings, though, and by the time it was over the teams had set a new record for most pitchers used in a game with 25. Twenty-five!

Part of that total was attributable to an early, unexpected exit by Rockies starter Jeff Hoffman, who was hit in the knee with a line drive in the fourth inning and was ultimately diagnosed with a bone bruise. Part of it was because of the game’s seven extra innings.

But there have been a lot of games that went 16 innings or more and a lot of games in which a starter was knocked out early that led to far fewer arms being utilized. It’s September, though, so it’s a time when the rosters are expanded, and weird stuff can happen. Weird stuff like nine different pitchers being used for less than an inning. That’s what records like these are made of.

It may be the all-time record forever. Starting next year September active rosters will be limited to 28 players instead of the currently-allowed 40. Also starting next year, pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or the end of a half-inning, barring situations involving injury or illness, so those nine dudes who retired zero, one or two batters would likely be cut down a bit.

Yay?

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.