Friday night saw the longest game in terms of time played in Orioles history. The game took six hours and fifty-four minutes to play nearly eighteen full innings. There was one out when the winning run scored off Bud Norris, entering his third inning of relief. David DeJesus singled in the winning run in his eighth at-bat, sending the Orioles to a 5-4 defeat that probably spells the beginning of the end of their playoff chances, unless the O's win the next three games.
How do you end up with an 18 inning marathon? Like success, it has many parents. One way comes with the fact that the O's had exactly one hit - a Nick Markakis infield single - from the eighth inning until the 18th inning. That was the only hit by Markakis in eight at-bats on the night.
There is no point in singling out Markakis. Everyone failed tonight. The Orioles had 12 hits in 63 at-bats, a .190 batting average. They also walked six times, which is not bad, but 12-63 is bad.
A lot of stuff happened and after eighteen innings of baseball, none of it really matters. Jason Hammel gave up some early runs. T.J. McFarland was warming in the first inning and ended up pitching beginning in the 14th inning. Kevin Gausman coughed up a slim lead that led the whole thing into extra innings in the first place. Then, from both teams, the failure. Lots and lots of failure at bat.
It's hardly even worth talking about how they got there. The Orioles lost. They needed to win, because there were only ten games left before tonight and the next four games would be against the Rays, their direct competitors. They needed a win and instead they lost, an 18-inning game that will probably blast out the bullpen for the rest of the series, a series against a Rays team with a strong rotation that may not even need much bullpen help.
Two pictures tell the story of eighteen innings of tedium better than any words ever could.
In the Rays dugout, the late night led to this.
In the Orioles dugout, the eighteen-inning affair led to this.
We now have empirical evidence that Chewbacca masks are greater than Gatorade cup pyramids. All humanity can now benefit from this cutting-edge research.
It will be a short night for both teams. Since FOX deemed the Saturday game to be desirable for national broadcast, the game will start at 1:05. Miguel Gonzalez starts for the Orioles, with Alex Cobb starting for the Rays. For the rest of the series and probably season, the Orioles can win or forget about the playoffs.