Marathon games seem to follow around the Toledo Mud Hens.
For the second straight season, the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers could end up being part of the lengthiest game in the International League.
That’s because on Thursday, Toledo arrived at PNC Field for a 7:05 p.m. game and didn’t leave the ballpark until early Friday morning as the teams played for 20 innings and 5 hours, 26 minutes in a 2-1 victory for the RailRiders that was capped off in the bottom of the frame when slugger Randy Ruiz launched a walk-off home run on the first pitch of the inning at 12:33 a.m.
Sure that was the long, but the Mud Hens were part of a longer game time wise last season. On Aug. 5 last season, Toledo went 19 innings in a 10-9 loss to Rochester at home; that game took 6:32 to complete.
When comparing the two games there are some astronomical stats and major differences, besides the number of runs scored. The RailRiders and Mud Hens combined for 29 hits on Thursday/Friday and collectively went just 4 for 27 with runners in scoring position for a .148 batting average. The teams also left a total of 32 runners on base paced by SWB’s 18.
In last year’s game, Rochester piled up 25 hits on its own and the two combined for a staggering 43 hits. Toledo had problems hitting in that game as well going just 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position and leaving 20 runners on base. The Red Wings meanwhile, were 9 for 17 in the stat and only left 14 men on the basepaths. Danny Dorn was the only position player to see action in both games. Last year, he played first base for the Mud Hens and was 2 for 9 at the plate. Last week, he played all 20 inning in right field and ended the game 3 for 7 with his team’s only RBI and a walk. Toledo reliever Matt Hoffman was the only pitcher to see action in both games. He tossed two scoreless innings last week, while in the 2012 contest he was charged with allowing the tying run in the eighth inning to eventually force the extra session.
Some other tidbits from the marathon:
•Current RailRiders starter Chris Bootcheck pitched 1-3 of an inning in the eighth inning for Toledo allowing a pair of hits in last year’s game.
•The 5:26 game marked the longest time for a tilt in SWB franchise history, besting the previous time of a 5:13, 19-inning game the Red Barons played in the 2001 playoffs against Buffalo.
•The next game the Barons played after that marathon was the first game of the Governors’ Cup Championship against Louisville, which was managed by current SWB skipper Dave Miley. The RailRiders are playing Louisville this weekend.
•The International League has the honor of being the league in which the longest professional game in history was played. That was more than 32 years ago when the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings went 33 innings before the PawSox won 3-2 on June 23, 1981.
Smith keeps going
For some reason Greg Smith can’t seem to find a team that wants to hold onto him.
As a 29-year-old and a left-hander Smith should be able to keep a job with some organization – especially with the numbers he’s putting up this season for Lehigh Valley. Smith, who pitched for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 2011 and posted a 3-3 mark with a 4.84 ERA, has been phenomenal for the IronPigs this season with a 5-1 record, an ERA of 1.93 and has only allowed 43 hits and nine walks in 51 1-3 innings for LV and was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for the week of July 15-22 after going eight shutout innings in a victory over Columbus.
Smith was in the Blue Jays organization signing a minor league deal with the club in December 2012. But that didn’t last long and he was soon pitching independently for the Grand Prairie AirHogs before signing with the Phillies in May. He started off with Double-A Reading before shortly getting promoted to Double-A.
He’s now with his eighth MLB organization in the last eight years. Originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2005, he was traded to Oakland in 2007 and was on the move again the next year going to Colorado. He signed with the Yankees in 2011 before getting released and picked up by the Red Sox. He was with the Los Angeles Angels Triple-A team in 2012.