FanDuel - WFBC

October 09, 2005

Astros win 18-inning epic battle in breathless fashion,to advance to the NLCS.: If you missed this one- sweet jesus, what you missed! The longest post season game in history, 18 innings and nearly 6 hours in length. One of the great games I've ever seen: the Braves lead early, holding a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the 8th at Houston and appearing to be cruising to a deciding game 5. A Berkmann grand slam brought the Astros to 6-5 in the bottom 8th, and a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the 9th by Ausmus sent this roller coaster ride into extra innings.
     A whole second game ensued, 9 more innings of two depleted teams throwing every player they could to pull this one out. Relievers put up 0's across the board for 8 1/2 innings, as we stayed knotted 6-6 until the bottom of the 18th. The Astros had used 23 players, a record (only the absent Pettite and last night's starter, Oswalt, didn't appear), forced to use Clemens- the only pitcher left- for a 3 inning stint to get the win. Chris Burke, a pinch runner used much earlier in the game, was the hero today by smacking a 338 foot homerun to finally put an end to it all.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 06:35 PM - 38 comments

Granted, as a Division series game it's not as quite as dramatic even as the extra inning battles of the ALCS last year, but for those who love drama there's nothing like watching reliever after reliever put up goose eggs each inning. Every time a rally started, it was quickly snuffed by a key strikeout or double play. As the announcers said, we almost expected something truly bizarre, like a Clemens homerun to end it starting off the 18th. Whew! Time for a breather before digging into the in-progress Angels/Yankees game.

posted by hincandenza at 06:39 PM on October 09

When I saw Clemens swinging for the fences in the 18th inning, I was pulling for him to create a miracle. It would have caused multiple head explosions in two camps:

  1. Sportswriters - they'd be going insane raving about how it's another jewel in his HOF career
  2. Clemens haters - they'd be going insane, period.

posted by grum@work at 06:49 PM on October 09

I felt like I was in a time warp for innings 12-18. I hate that short porch at the juice box.

posted by mbd1 at 06:59 PM on October 09

When I saw Clemens swinging for the fences in the 18th inning, I was pulling for him to create a miracle. It would have caused multiple head explosions in two camps: 1. Sportswriters - they'd be going insane raving about how it's another jewel in his HOF career 2. Clemens haters - they'd be going insane, period. Yeah, but he fanned, so we got to live instead ;-)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:00 PM on October 09

I sat down at the bar and looked at the score... then did a double-take. Does that say 18th inning?!!? Next thing I know, boom, it's all over and there's some closeups of a hottie in a green shirt. I'd have to say it was a good game.

posted by dusted at 07:03 PM on October 09

Speaking of Clemens swinging for the fences, I (shame!) made a quick water run during the commercial break, and when it came back it was 0-2 on Clemens to start the bottom of the 18th. The announcers were talking about how crazy it would be if he hit a homerun. I'm with Grum- if Clemens had popped one after 3 gritty shutout innings, the anti-Clemens brigade would have been spitting nails... :) Did he even make contact on a foul ball, or was it just 1-2-3 no contact? From the way the announcers were talking, I thought I might have missed Clemens drilling one down the line but foul or something...

posted by hincandenza at 07:11 PM on October 09

Man! I've watched every playoff game so far and the one I miss is the best of them all. That happened to me during the NCAA Tournament. I watched a huge chunk of the games and then I missed the Elite Eight weekend. God damned sports god. And god too.

posted by panoptican at 07:26 PM on October 09

Great game. This was truly a nail biter in those extra innings. Both teams had some terrific pitching in extra innings. Looks like Clemens got that win he didn't get the other day, huh? Anti-Clemens or not, the man is one of the best pitchers ever. Congrats Houston, enjoy it!!!

posted by jojomfd1 at 07:39 PM on October 09

Did he even make contact on a foul ball, or was it just 1-2-3 no contact? From the way the announcers were talking, I thought I might have missed Clemens drilling one down the line but foul or something... He hit one foul, but nothing that would be considered dangerous. The reason they were talking about hitting a home run is that he took a full-out-corkscrew-into-the-dirt swing on the first pitch. He was definitely looking to end it himself. His previous at-bat (where he was officially a pinch-hitter, a first for him) was just to lay down a sac bunt (which he did successfully). Cool scene: When he picked up Burke over his shoulder and carried him to home plate during the latter stagers of the celebration, and then when FOX wanted to interview Clemens, he grabbed Burke and made sure FOX got him too (like they weren't going to already). Interesting note: It was Roger Clemens' second relief appearance in his career. His first one was 7,753 days ago.

posted by grum@work at 08:29 PM on October 09

This was definitely one for the ages, although I was pulling for the Braves (I didn't want the Cards to face Houston -- bad juju). Clemens showed why he's the greatest pitcher of his era, even with a balky hamstring. I was even, God help me, pulling for him to launch one into the stands. Damn skippy of him to make sure Burke got the face time.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:24 PM on October 09

Sometimes you have to wonder why the braves even try. Clemens showed why he's the greatest pitcher of his era With 3 innings of shutout ball? That's a pretty low threshold ya got there. Lackey pitched 5 shutout innings for the angels with 3 days rest.

posted by justgary at 10:41 PM on October 09

I just wonder why the Braves didn't put Smoltz in. He's est'd as a starter and reliever, and clutch as hell in the post season. Bobby Cox is a great manager, but if the Astros could put Clemens back in after game 2, why couldn't Johnny Clutch come in when the Braves' backs were against the wall?

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:09 PM on October 09

Putting Clemons in reminded me of when the Diamondbacks put in Randy Johnson as a reliever in the 2001 World Series: we are going to win this game. Bobby Cox is a great manager during the season (winning 14 straight division titles), and a mediocre postseason manager (winning one World Series with arguably the greatest pitching rotation in the history of baseball).

posted by kirkaracha at 11:51 PM on October 09

That ball game shouldn't have gone to extra innings. The tying home run was one of them newfangled "above the yellow line" ones. Ridiculous.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:00 AM on October 10

Thanks for the clarifying, grum- I thought I might have missed him knocking a line drive foul down the line that had the distance or something, which would certainly have gotten the crowd buzzing. Kind of sad I didn't get to see him take a corkscrew swing, though. Good on him as well for carrying Burke to home like you said, and deflecting attention to him from himself as the FOX folks were interviewing him. Nice for the kid to get his day in the sun.

DrJohnEvans: The tying home run was one of them newfangled "above the yellow line" ones. Ridiculous.
Huh? It's not really ridiculous, DJE- that line is simply a way of expressing a wall where one might not be possible architecturally. The ump made the right call. The thinking is that wall in left is fine to be that high down the line, where it's 315' from home- Fenway's Green Monster being an obvious parallel- but as the high wall angles out towards that insane 436 foot center field, the line is there to make for a "lower" wall. A 30 foot wall that's 380-400 feet out makes for essentially a homerun "dead zone" (again, akin to the 20 foot wall 420 feet out from home in dead center of Fenway). Yeah, I suppose they could have arbitrarily built out a real 8 foot wall a couple of feet from the higher wall, but why bother? The bottom edge of that yellow line is where the top of the wall would have been, and therefore it would have been a homerun with a "real" wall. That line has been there since the beginning, and every batter has equal opportunity to use or abuse that line. It is true of all parks that their idiosyncracies are as often a blessing as they are a curse. The park giveth (that game tying homerun) and taketh away: a blast during early extra innings by an Astro that actually pushed Andruw Jones onto the little hill in dead center, probably 410+ feet from home. In most any park that's a homerun, and would have ended the game innings earlier.

posted by hincandenza at 01:32 AM on October 10

This game reminded me of one back somewhere around 1985 which I remember vaguely, it was the Mets (Strawberry and Gooden years) vs. ? Can't remember... I think that game went 16 or 17 innings. I think it was a critical game, either playoffs or for playoff position.... Anyone remember the game I'm talking about?

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 06:53 AM on October 10

Another division championship for the Braves, another early post-season exit. Someone should really let the organization know the goal is WINNING the playoffs and World Series (and yes, I know, all the stuff about the young players, all the rookies, blah, blah, blah). Losing playoff series has been the norm with Atlanta regardless of who's on the field for them.

posted by dyams at 07:14 AM on October 10

It doesn't matter where your from or what team you follow, a true sports fan enjoyed this game. 18 innings, everybody played, and a game winning home-run. It's what playoff baseball is all about. Being an Astros fan for years, I have to say that it feels good to be on the winning side of the drama for a change. We can enjoy this for a day, but it's back to business in preparing for the Cards. Should be fun!

posted by tb_mitchell at 08:14 AM on October 10

1986, Game 6 (I think-- maybe Mike Scott pitching?). They showed some clips of it. I remember watching from the floor of my parents' bedroom after they'd long since fallen asleep. God knows why they let me stay up.

posted by yerfatma at 08:23 AM on October 10

It doesn't matter where your from or what team you follow, a true sports fan enjoyed this game. I'm sure they would have enjoyed it a lot less if it had started at 8 pm (8:30, after the throwing out of the ball, singing of the anthem, and exhibition performance by the East Cupcake Racing Pigs).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:34 AM on October 10

It wasn't Scott -- he would've pitched game 7...

posted by ajaffe at 09:12 AM on October 10

I just wonder why the Braves didn't put Smoltz in. His shoulder wouldn't allow it. In today's AJC, he said that he wouldn't be able to pitch in the Division Series again and possibly not even the NLCS because it was so bad. And when Smoltzie says he can't pitch because of pain/injury, it's bad.

posted by jmd82 at 10:06 AM on October 10

Clemens showed why he's the greatest pitcher of his era With 3 innings of shutout ball? That's a pretty low threshold ya got there. Lackey pitched 5 shutout innings for the angels with 3 days rest. posted by justgary at 10:41 PM CST on October 9 I see you're still hanging on to that bottle of Bitters, gary. Clemens also pitched on 3 days rest...and he's 43 with a bad hammy. He also laid down a sac bunt and had another at bat. If you want to hate the guy, fine, but at least have the cajones to tell the whole story. Clemens haters - they'd be going insane, period. Heh. Speaking of Clemens swinging for the fences, I (shame!) made a quick water run during the commercial break... Hal, you gotta get tivo. It's the best, I tell ya...the best! 1986, Game 6 (I think-- maybe Mike Scott pitching?). It was Bob Knepper. This was the series that really made me an Astros fan. I had only lived in Houston 3 years at the time and the 'Stros had some solid players who played their butts off...Billy Doran, Glenn Davis, Billy Hatcher, Kevin Bass, Phil Garner, Denny Walling, Terry Puhl, Jose Cruz...not to mention Nolan Ryan, but they just couldn't get past the Mets. Last season and yesterday made up for it. I'm surprised no one has mentioned that yesterday's game was the first post-season series ending win in Houston. It's good to know my family and friends down there have something to cheer about. It was a pretty happy day here in New York too...Astros win the series...Cowboys trounce the punk-ass Eagles and for my wife...a Yankees win. Yep, today is a good day to be a sports fan at our address!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:20 AM on October 10

my brother and i were heading up to the Stadium last night when we passed one of the bars along River Ave. we both stopped in our tracks and did a double take when we saw that the game was still going (i think it was the 16th at this point.) just amazing. when the astros finally won there were quite a few cheers coming from the different bars (although it wasn't quite like the ones on friday night after the Sox2 game;-)

posted by goddam at 10:45 AM on October 10

I see you're still hanging on to that bottle of Bitters, gary. I see you're a young whippersnapper who's never drunk an old fashioned, or you wouldn't be so down on bitters (no caps, by the way). An old fashioned is a fine drink. Texan, Clemens has been around and he's pissed in a lot of bowls of Cheerios on the way. Yer not gonna convert those of us whom you consider Clemens-haters -- there are just too many legitimate reasons to dislike him, or at least not get all rah-rah when people start calling him the greatest thing since sliced bread.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:33 AM on October 10

I have nothing to add to what Miz Bat said.

posted by chicobangs at 11:57 AM on October 10

I see you're a young whippersnapper who's never drunk an old fashioned Yep. 47 years young. Sorry for the cap...I've only had bitters a couple of times (to settle an upset stomach, if I remember correctly), didn't look at the bottle and thought it was none too tasty. You can have your old fashioned, I'll take sliced bread. I'm not trying to convert anyone...I think it's kind of funny...but I can assure you, it's next to impossible to make a Texan turn on one of his own. We're loyal that way, except for Bubbya of course, who's really just a carpetbagger wanna-be:-) And yes, I know, Clemens was born in Ohio. We give him a pass because he grew up in Texas and went to UT. He's naturalized in my book.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:09 PM on October 10

The longest postseason games in the major U.S. pro sports: NFL December 25, 1971 - Miami Dolphins 27, Kansas City Chiefs 24 (2 OT) NBA March 21, 1953 - Boston Celtics 111, Syracuse Nationals 105 (4 OT) NHL March 24, 1936 - Detroit Red Wings 1, Montreal Maroons 0 (6 OT) MLB October 5, 2005 - Houston Astros 7, Atlanta Braves 6 (18 innings)

posted by Motown Mike at 12:29 PM on October 10

I see you're still hanging on to that bottle of Bitters, gary. Clemens also pitched on 3 days rest...and he's 43 with a bad hammy. He also laid down a sac bunt and had another at bat. If you want to hate the guy, fine, but at least have the cajones to tell the whole story. Cajones? You think I left out that he had a sac bunt and that makes all the difference? If you want to take every negative statement about clemens and hang it on the "you just hate him" rack, be my guest. When people say "hater" it comes across as someone who hates a player simply because they're good. I promise you that's not the case with clemens. I could write a book. As a counterpoint I can't stand Arod, but if called on it I can't really give you a reason. I freely admit that. Clemens has so many 'haters' because he's given plenty of reasons to hate him. If you want to drink the coolaid and support that guy no matter what, fine, but at least have the "cajones" to admit it. People seem to forget grums second part: 1. Sportswriters - they'd be going insane raving about how it's another jewel in his HOF career ...which came through even without the homerun. One espn write up had 3 paragraphs on clemens, 2 on the rest of the game including the dramatic home runs. Impressive game by clemens, but saying it shows why he is the "greatest pitcher of his generation" is complete nonsense. The same as it would be to say he's not a great pitcher when he stunk up the joint just a few days ago. A little perspective is all I'm going for.

posted by justgary at 04:44 PM on October 10

Actually, I always thought it was "cojones." And l_b_b hit it right on the head. Clemens has given thousands of baseball fans reasons to dislike him, and you're likely never going to convince us otherwise. One of the best pitchers ever? Sure. First ballot Hall of Famer? No problems here. Egomaniacal, mercenary prick who thinks the world should revolve around him? Most definitely. You'd have better luck convincing me that G.W. Bush belongs in Mensa than you would convincing me to get all warm and fuzzy about Klemens.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:11 PM on October 10

Any Blue Jays fan want to cue up in the Clemens Whine Line? Surely our friends to the north can bring some factual evidence as to how a player who changed teams 3 times in 22 seasons is a "whore"...

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:56 AM on October 11

I really can't complain about Clemens tenure in Toronto. He won the triple crown two years running and two Cy Youngs. We were a mediocre team with some talent, and he was a nice guy to watch. I really don't think he deserves any disparaging from Jays fans. Yes - too much hyperbole from the media about Clemens yesterday. He pitched well and his team won. It wasn't any more heroic than anyone else put forth yesterday. I actually think he recognized this more than anyone when he brought Chris Burke with him for the post-game interview on the field. For a jerk-ass merc, he sure acted like a team-guy yesterday.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:15 AM on October 11

A little perspective is all I'm going for. Here's your perspective, Gary: Lifetime stats for Roger Clemens You'll glance down to see the seven Cy Youngs and the seven ERA titles. Three shutout innings with a bad hamstring under the most intense of circumstances is very much indicative of being the greatest pitcher of your generation. I hate the guy too, but I would think you'd be able to look past his idiocy and extend that one example of brilliance and link it to the rest of them in his career Or perhaps not.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:19 AM on October 11

Wfrazerjr, it was impressive, but no more impressive than a half dozen other performances these playoffs. You point to his statistics, which I'm of course aware of, and I'm not sure what exactly you're getting at. But that's actually my point. He's a great pitcher, so you take what he did, point to the past, and tell me that proves something. His stats are HUGE, but they don't make what he did yesterday any more or less impressive. If you didn't know who he was I doubt we'd still be writing about him today, but you look at his stats, and suddenly it's an amazing performance. Seems ass backwards to me.

posted by justgary at 10:34 AM on October 11

I actually think he recognized this more than anyone when he brought Chris Burke with him for the post-game interview on the field. For a jerk-ass merc, he sure acted like a team-guy yesterday. Absolutely agreed. Clemens never would have a had a chance had it not been for Berkman's grand slam and Ausmus' homer with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth. This team is full of players who stepped up when they were needed most. The Braves helped as well with 2 foot-off-the-bag plays, though the ump may have got it wrong on Franco. I also think the fans at the game also have to be given some credit. For the record, it's no secret to most Houston fans that Clemens is an ass. I can only say that in the 20 seasons he pitched away from Houston, whenever his antics came to light, you could almost see the collective shrug of shoulders by sports fans, followed by a wistful "I wish he pitched for us."

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:36 AM on October 11

"also" twice in the same sentence...sheeeeez....going off coffee is a bitch.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:38 AM on October 11

I see what you're getting at, Gary, but saying you don't take that performance in the context of the rest of his body of work is like pointing to the "Moonlight Sonata" and saying, "Boy, did that guy ever write anything else?" His three relief innings of shutout, one-hit, no-walk ball included four strikeouts -- in other words, an overpowering, Clemensesque performance. Ervin Santana's stunning shutdown of the Yankees might be more surprising, but is it indicative of what we would expect from him? No, at least not yet. Every great piece of work goes a little further to prove the case for a great master, just as every choke job (see ARod line) furthers that case also.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:30 AM on October 11

I see what you're getting at, Gary, but saying you don't take that performance in the context of the rest of his body of work is like pointing to the "Moonlight Sonata" and saying, "Boy, did that guy ever write anything else?" Point taken.

posted by justgary at 12:43 PM on October 11

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