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Tampa Bay Rays' marathon loss to Boston Red Sox memorable for several reasons

The frustration of losing 1-0 in 16 innings to the Red Sox left several Rays saying Sunday's — and Monday's — game was their toughest loss. But all that happened — good, bad and odd — to get to that point when the game finally ended at 1:54 a.m. also made it one of the most memorable:

Offensive futility

Playing 16 innings without scoring a run seems hard to do, but not when you consider how inept the Rays were offensively, getting only three hits (the same as Boston's Dustin Pedroia). They are the first team in MLB history (going back to 1919) to play 16 or more innings, and to get 50 at-bats, and get no more than three hits. They had only six baserunners (three hits, two hit batters, one walk) and advanced only three of them to second base and none as far as third. The eight combined hits were the fewest for any major-league game of 14 or more innings in the live-ball era (since 1920), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … To balance that, the Rays' team-record-tying nine pitchers walked 12.

Historical context

• At 5 hours and 54 minutes, it was the longest game time-wise in Rays history, matched the longest innings-wise and with a 1:54 a.m. finish was their latest at Tropicana Field.

• It was the 34th game in MLB history (since 1918), and 12th in the AL, to go scoreless through at least 15 innings, though the first since only April 2010 when the Mets and Cards were 0-0 through 18.

• It was the longest 1-0 game innings-wise since June 2004, when Milwaukee beat Anaheim (with 1B Casey Kotchman and bench coach Joe Maddon) in 17 innings of interleague play, and the longest in the AL since September 1974, when Baltimore beat Milwaukee in 17.

• At 5:58, it was the longest broadcast in the 20-year history of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

Timeline

8:10 p.m.: Jeff Niemann throws first pitch.

11:06 p.m.: Evan Longoria makes final out of ninth inning.

12:45 a.m.: Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson — off because it was an ESPN game — falls asleep in 13th inning.

1:42 a.m.: Dustin Pedroia singles in Josh Reddick with only run.

1:54 a.m.: Jonathan Papelbon throws 480th and final pitch.

2:04 a.m.: Later-Monday starter Alex Cobb plays catch on field to get loose.

4:01 a.m.: Times writers leave Tropicana Field press box.

5 a.m.-ish: Rays manager Joe Maddon falls asleep at Tampa home after watching Discovery Channel for an hour.

9:20 a.m.: Stadium cleaning crew finishes job and heads out.

Novel concept

With manager Joe Maddon (for complaining during a pitching change about a previous check-swing call) and bench coach Dave Martinez (for objecting to Marco Scutaro's bat fling) ejected in the 11th inning, the Rays went for a team management concept, led by 3B coach Tom Foley and pitching coach Jim Hickey. "We were going Politburo at that point," Maddon said. "I've always enjoyed that word from my Tom Clancy novels. So we went straight Politburo."

Light show

2B Sean Rodriguez provided the oddest moment of the night, when his eighth-inning foul ball struck and broke the protective covering of a light on the B-ring catwalk, sending glass cascading onto the field. (And a hat tip to the stadium sound crew for playing the theme from The Natural then Annie Lennox's Walking on Broken Glass.) "It was pretty cool," Rodriguez said. "But I guess I didn't hit it hard enough to break the whole thing."

Tampa Bay Rays' marathon loss to Boston Red Sox memorable for several reasons 07/18/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 18, 2011 10:46pm]

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