The addendum to Fenway Park history turned out, simply, to be a 20th inning in which the Seattle Mariners scored a run and the Red Sox left the bases loaded.
After 359 minutes, 19 innings, 548 pitches, 44 hits, 35 runners left on base, 46 players and a kaleidoscope of mixups that lasted until 1:16 a.m., the two teams returned a little more than 18 hours later for what amounted to a flip for the rights to the longest game ever played in the old park. The inning ended 22 minutes after it (and 1460 minutes after the first) began when Jim Beattie came out of the starting rotation to get Jim Rice with the bases loaded. Which, in making Joe Simpson’s RBI triple - Simpson’s first game winning RBI of the season - off Bob Stanley in the top of the inning stand up, was something of a piece of history in itself. Hey, the Seattle Mariners, who’d lost 12 of 14 and whose bullpen had torched eight leads in that time, actually won a game, 8-7. Not only that, but their bullpen held Boston scoreless for 11 innings before a starter, the record ninth pitcher manager Rene Lachemann sent out there, offered his shoulder in self-sacrifice for the club’s first save since Aug. 15.
The one-inning pregame warmup thus went into the books as just another loss in Fenway. Although it will be a long time before Jerry Remy forgets going 6 for 10, with five of those hits off lefthanders; or Luis Aponte forgets pitching in one 33-inning and two 20-inning games (”I knew we were in trouble when all these Pawtucket guys showed up,” said Ralph Houk at 1:46 a.m.) in one season; or clubhouse boss Vinnie Orlando forgets coming in with the players left on the field after the curfew yesterday morning to find that the players who’d been taken out had devoured all but one beer and all the hot dogs; or Houk forgets going through four packages of tobacco in one standing; or any of the 1000 that stayed around until 1:16 a.m. will forget the horrors of baserunning mistakes, overthrown cutoff men, misplayed grounders, errors, not to mention the cold, dank East wind.
“This was a big, big win for us,” said Lachemann. “After we lost that (7-4) lead in the ninth, I was trying to think of another way to go in and face the guys. Then before we started again, we had our 130th pitching meeting. I’d tried my Rockne, I’d run out of Lombardis. I’d had Tom Paciorek do Lasorda imitations, I’d talked to my brother about (USC baseball coach Rod) Dedeaux, I’d tried just about everything from every manager I’d ever known.” Lachemann naturally was then asked what he remembered from Haywood Sullivan, his boss with the equally tortured ‘65 Kansas City A’s, and after two minutes pause, replied, “All I really remember about Haywood was his always telling us not to use the phone in the clubhouse because Charlie Finley would be calling soon (laugh).”
Stanley (7-6), normally a vulture, got the first two Seattle batters in the 20th before David Henderson singled to left. That brought to the plate Simpson, an appropriate hero since he is a marvelous sort who so appreciates the game he plays that he has become a ballpark historian. He lined his triple up the right-center-field gap to score Henderson, and it was up to lefthander Jerry Don Gleaton, who’d warmed up five times the previous night, to preserve the lead.
Gleaton got two out, then Rick Miller singled into left. Remy lined his sixth hit (joining Jim Piersall and Pete Runnels in Red Sox six-hit annals). Lachemann had Beattie, who’d thrown 10 brilliant innings in Baltimore Tuesday, doing his between-starts throwing, warming. “I had some trouble getting loose,” said Beattie, “so I told him I wasn’t ready for Evans. But for Rice with the bases loaded, I was ready, no matter what.” Gleaton walked Evans on four pitches. Enter Beattie.
Ground ball to Jimmy Anderson at short. Seattle 8, Boston 7.