The Chattanooga Lookouts defeated the Birmingham Barons 2-1 in Saturday night's game,the series finale between the Lookouts and the Barons. It took 21 innings, and two position players pitching, but the Lookouts got a win. Official time of the game was 5:29.
These teams essentially played two games, though it only counted as one in the overall standings.
There were a lot of pitchers, a lot of men left on base, and there were even pitchers hitting, well, getting at-bats. It came down to position players pitching, for both teams.
The teams fell two innings short of matching the longest game in Southern League history. Columbus and Savannah played 23 innings on April 14, 1973, a feat matched by Huntsville and Greenville on Aug. 6, 1998.
There were 42 strikeouts in the game; 21 by each team. The Lookouts stranded 16 runners, while the Barons left 13 men-on-base.
Felix Jorge started and was fantastic. The right-hander went the first nine innings giving up just one run on four hits. He struck out eight batters without walking any. Randy Rosario was next. The southpaw gave up three hits, but no runs, over two innings. Ryan Eades was next. He walked two and struck out two over two scoreless innings. Then Raul Fernandez came on and struck out six over three scoreless innings.
Birmingham got on the board early, when they scored one run in the top of the first inning. The Barons scored their run in the top of the first inning when Mason Robbins reached base safely on a throwing error by Lookouts third baseman T.J. White, which allowed Jose Vinicioto score from third base.
The game would remain 1-0 until the bottom of the ninth inning when Chattanooga's Andy Wilkins roped an RBI single to right field with two outs, scoring Alex Perez from second base, tying the game 1-1.
The contest would remain a defensive battle for the next twelve innings as both teams emptied their bullpens.
- Luke Bard came on for the 17th inning. He struck out two in a scoreless inning. He struck out another in a quick, 1-2-3 18th inning. Bard struck out in his at bat to end the 18th inning.
- In the 19th inning, manager Jake Mauer put infielder Alex Perez in to pitch. Pitcher Randy LeBlanc went out to right field. LeBlanc, a right-handed starting pitcher, spent the final three innings in right-field and handled the only ball hit his way.
- Max Murphy moved to center-field while Levi Michael replaced Perez at second base. Perez was the pinch runner who replaced the DH in the ninth inning. He walked one, but got three outs without allowing a run.
- But the Lookouts didn’t score in their half of 19th either. Perez pitched a one-two-three 20th inning, including a fly out to LeBlanc in right field.
- In the 21st inning, Perez shifted back to second base, and Max Murphy went to the mound. He walked the first batter. The next guy bunted him to second. A grounder advanced the runner to third, but Murphy got a strikeout to end the threat.
Birmingham finally went to a position player in the bottom of the 21st inning. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the twenty-first inning, Michael drew a bases loaded walk to give the Lookouts a 2-1 walk-off victory against the Barons in the series finale at AT&T Field. White scored the game winning run, crossing the plate to end a very long night.
How did the pitchers hit since Lookouts and Barons are affiliates of American League teams?
The Lookouts were down 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, Jonathan Rodriguez, the DH, got on base. Mauer decided to pinch run Perez for him. The move worked as Perez came around to score on an Wilkins hit. The game went to extra innings. Carlos Paulino pinch hit for Rosario, but due to other moves throughout the earlier inning, there were no more hitters on Mauer’s bench. Eades struck out in his at-bat. Fernandez grounded out in his lone at-bat.
Chattanooga has traveled to Montgomery, AL to take on the Montgomery Biscuits in a five game series beginning on Sunday, July 30th.
Sunday's game will take place at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium at 6:35 PM (ET). LHP, Stephen Gonsalves (7-3, 2.78) will get the start for the Lookouts.
Today (Sunday) the Minnesota Twins announced that they have acquired left-handed pitcher Dietrich Enns and minor league right-handed pitcher Zack Littell from the New York Yankees in exchange for Jamie Garcia and cash considerations in a trade that was completed last night.
Littell, 21, has combined to go 14-1 with a 1.87 ERA (115.1 IP, 24 ER), 23 walks and 109 strikeouts in 20 appearances (18 starts) between Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this season. In 92 career minor league appearances (86 starts) he is 35-24 with a 3.24 ERA (496.2 IP, 179 ER), 112 walks and 441 strikeouts. Littell will report to the Chattanooga Lookouts.