Mets, Cards add to history in epic duel
Scoreless contest through 18 is first such game since 1989
ST. LOUIS -- The Mets and Cardinals didn't set a Major League record on Saturday evening, but their game was nonetheless historic in more than a few ways.
When Jeff Francoeur hit a sacrifice fly off Joe Mather, normally an outfielder, in the top of the 19th inning to score Jose Reyes, 18 innings of 0-0 baseball came to an end. The wackiness didn't end there, though, as the Cardinals tied the game in their half on Yadier Molina's RBI single, scoring Albert Pujols and sending the game to the 20th inning.
The Mets eventually won the game, 2-1, on Reyes' sacrifice fly in the 20th.
The last scoreless game through 18 innings in the Major Leagues was the Dodgers-Expos contest on Aug. 23, 1989, which Los Angeles won, 1-0, in 22 frames. On April 15, 1968, the Astros beat the Mets, 1-0, in Houston on a run in the bottom of the 24th in the longest 0-0 game.
The Mets and Cardinals have something of a history of long games. The longest contest in St. Louis franchise history came on Sept. 11, 1974, when the Redbirds beat the Mets in 25 innings, 4-3. It's the fourth game of 20 innings or longer in Mets history, and the first they've won.
The last time St. Louis played 20 or more innings was April 27, 2003, when they beat the Marlins, 7-6, in Miami in the 20th. Coincidentally, Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter for the Phillies that day, just as Ubaldo Jimenez threw one for Colorado on Saturday.
More tidbits and facts from Saturday night:
The game set five stadium records for the current Busch Stadium: most strikeouts by Cardinals pitchers (16), most strikeouts by opposing pitchers (19), most combined strikeouts (35), longest game by time (six hours, 53 minutes) and longest game by innings.
Mather, who took the loss, became the first Cardinals position player to record a decision since Jose Oquendo. Now the club's third-base coach, Oquendo was the losing pitcher on May 14, 1988, when he pitched four innings in a 7-5 loss to Atlanta.
The last time two position players pitched in the same game in the Major Leagues was July 20, 1990, when Dave Martinez and Junior Noboa pitched for the Expos in a 12-6 loss in Houston.
When the Cardinals went 18 innings without scoring a run, it tied the longest scoreless streak by them in one game since Carl Hubbell pitched an 18-inning shutout for the Giants on July 2, 1933.
The last 20-inning game in the Major Leagues was two years ago to the day, April 17, 2008. Colorado beat San Diego in that game, 2-1, in 22 innings -- with current Cardinal Matt Holliday playing all 22 innings.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.