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June 20, 2008
Late Standing Starts
Yesterday afternoon, David Bush of the Brewers no-hit the Blue Jays through seven innings. He gave up a leadoff triple to Lyle Overbay to start the eighth, and Overbay scored on the very next play when Alex Rios singled. Bush finished the inning, leaving the game with an 8-1 lead. He then had to watch as Toronto tagged the Milwaukee bullpen for six runs in the top of the ninth, including a home run by Overbay and a grand slam by Joe Inglett. The game ended with the tying run on first.
Although the Blue Jays came up short, it was a pretty good offensive showing for a team that didn't get its first hit until the eighth inning. This got me wondering what the record was for most runs scored by a team that lay fallow for the majority of a game only to come alive in the late stages. Let's take a look at the best late standing starts since 1957.
Eighth inning, none out: Seven Runs; Brewers 8 - Blue Jays 7 (June 19, 2008)
As it turns out, the Jays mustered the most runs by any team that was being no-hit as of the start of the eighth inning or later. If A.J. "On the Whole I'd Rather Be in Chicago" Burnett hadn't coughed up eight runs to the Brewers, the Toronto record rally would have been a lot more dramatic, giving the Jays a win to celebrate rather than just an arcane record.
The old mark was six, and was held by three teams. Most recently, in the second game of a doubleheader on May 1, 2003, what could have been the highlight of a very dismal season instead became just another one of Detroit's 119 losses, as the Orioles beat Mike Maroth 6-4 after he had held them hitless for seven frames. Back on June 24, 1979, Wayne Twitchell of the Expos lost his perfect-game bid and had a 5-0 lead go south when the Pirates got four in the eighth, tied it in the ninth, and won it in the 10th. Eleven days earlier that same season, the A's Mike Norris lost his no-hitter and the Indians scored six in the home eighth to win 6-4.
Eighth inning, one out: Five Runs (three teams tied)
Eighth inning, two out: Six Runs*; Yankees 6 - Indians 4 (August 3, 1990)
This one is marked with an asterisk because the Yankees actually only scored four runs after getting their first hit. They had already scored two in the first on a hit batsman, an error, a wild pitch, and a groundout to take a 2-1 lead. With that initial mayhem out of the way, Tom Candiotti almost got out of the eighth without allowing a hit, but an error by shortstop Felix Fermin prolonged the inning long enough to allow Oscar Azocar an opportunity to single and knock Candiotti out of the game. Mel Hall followed with a three-run homer off of Doug Jones to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. All of that left Candiotti with the unlikely pitching line of 7.1 1 5 0 2 7. It is possible that there is a team or teams that have scored five runs in this situation, or also four. Further research is needed.
Ninth inning, none out: Five Runs; A's 6 - Orioles 4 (July 15, 1974)
The Orioles had already scored a run off of Wayne Garland when Reggie Jackson led off the second with a walk, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on an error by Bobby Grich. Garland, leading 4-1, lost his no-hitter when Dick Green led off the ninth with a single. An error by Boog Powell and two more singles chased Garland, who gave way to Grant Jackson. Reggie Jackson smacked a double to tie it, and two more runs scored on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.
Ninth inning, one out: Three Runs (three teams tied)
Ninth inning, two out: Three Runs (two teams tied)
Perhaps there is a bit of bias talking here, but I would have to nominate the Mets as the most interesting extra-inning team of all time--or at least in the era since they came into existence. In this particular extra-frame outing, Jim Maloney of the Reds whiffed 17 Mets through 10 innings without allowing a hit; New York's only offense to that point was an Ed Kranepool walk to lead off the second inning. Meanwhile Frank Lary and Larry Bearnarth were shutting out the most potent offense in the National League. They were helped in small part by two Leo Cardenas sacrifice bunts; both came with the pitcher on deck. Maloney's string ran out when Johnny Lewis led off the top of the 11th with a home run. Maloney allowed another single and struck out one more, which tied him for the National League record at the time, with 18.
Thirteenth inning, one out: One Run; Braves 1 - Pirates 0 (May 26, 1959)
One of the most famous games in baseball history, the likes of which we will never see again. Harvey Haddix set down 36 consecutive Milwaukee Braves while his teammates were putting 45 balls into play against Lew Burdette. Twelve of them fell for hits, but the Pirates also could not score. Haddix batted in the top of the 13th, and then lost his perfect game in the bottom of the frame. Felix Mantilla reached on a Don Hoak error to start the home half, Eddie Mathews laid down a sacrifice (he was slugging .619 at the time), and Hank Aaron was walked intentionally. Joe Adcock ended the game by popping one over the fence. The 3-0 win became a 1-0 win, though, when Aaron stopped running after reaching second base and Adcock passed him. It makes for two things from the '50s that I've always found frustrating to read about: the Korean War, and this game.
Thanks to Bil Burke for his research.