It was sometime after midnight when Yankee fans watching last night's game could finally take a few breaths and exhale. That was after the Yankees won what seemed to be a war of baseball attrition by scoring three in the 15th for a 4-1 win over the Orioles.
We wish we could be as calm as Bartolo Colon pitching those eight innings (and you could have made the argument for Colon pitching the ninth even with Mariano Rivera). We wish we could be as calm as Hector Noesi making his major league debut by pitching four innings and surviving four walks and four hits. We wish we could be as calm as we know Rivera will be the next time he appears. We also wish we could be as calm as Chris Dickerson after making a great catch at the wall.
Of course this isn't the first time the Yankees have played a 15-inning game, the drama just increases when a team has been struggling and when people have been going back and forth about the game online.
If you've ever read this site, you know how much baseball history is enjoyed on here. So it seems appropriate to look up some of the previous 15-inning games and list them below (since I know you're just as curious as I am about how many 15-inning games or more the Yankees have played).
1 - 8-7-2009 - Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 (15) - Chances are you remember this one. This was during the four-game sweep of the Red Sox in early August during a weekend that the Yankees essentially put the AL East away. On a night where Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett combined on 13 strikeouts and held the opposing lineup scoreless, the Yankees wound up winning on an Alex Rodriguez two-run home run. Of course, they easily could have lost as Burnett walked six but the teams combined to leave over 20 men on.
2 - 6-1-2003 - Yankees 10, Tigers 9 (17) - Roger Clemens was going for 300 wins that afternoon against the 119-loss Tigers. He seemed poised to get it despite blowing a 7-6 lead but then would have to wait after Sterling Hitchcock and Antonio Osuna blew it in the eighth. Eventually the Yankees won this five hour contest on solo home runs in the 17th from Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada.
3 - 8-9-2002 - Athletics 3, Yankees 2 (16) - Later in August 2002, the Athletics put together a 20-game winning streak but that Friday night they managed to outlast the Yankees in a six-hour thriller. Neither team scored until the eighth and the Yankees were forced to go the bullpen early when Orlando Hernandez could only pitch the first. Jeff Weaver pitched the next 6 1/3 and did well. The Yankees responded to Oakland's two runs by scoring the tying run on Bernie Williams' double. Extra innings could have been avoided but Enrique Wilson was thrown out at the plate on a nice throw from Terrence Long. Neither team did much until the 16th, the game was decided on an RBI single by Mark Ellis and settled when Robin Ventura struck out with two on.
4 - 4-19-2001 - Yankees 6, Blue Jays 5 (17) - For five hours, 57 minutes there were 35 hits and 35 men left on base in Toronto. The Yankees rallied from a 5-3 deficit with two runs in the fifth on Dave Justice's home run. Then nobody crossed the plate for a while. The Yankees left the bases loaded in the sixth and eighth while the Blue Jays did the same in the ninth. The Yankees did nothing much until two outs in the 17th when Chuck Knoblauch walked. Two hitters later, Knoblauch scored on a Tino Martinez single.
(NOTE THIS LIST DOES NOT INCLUDE a 1-1 TIE BETWEEN THE ORIOLES and YANKEES in SEPT 2001)
5 - 7-20-1998 - Tigers 4, Yankees 3 (17) - In the first game of a twi-night doubleheader, the 1998 Yankees lost one of their 48 regular-season games by blowing an early 3-0 lead, stranding 22 runners and going 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The Tigers tied the game on Joe Randa's single off Ramiro Mendoza in the seventh and eventually won it on another Randa single in the 17th. This actually was the fourth loss in five games for those Yankees but starting with a 4-3 win in the nightcap, the Bombers won 24 of their next 29 before their next losing streak.
6 - 6-1-1997 - Yankees 11, Red Sox 6 (15) - The Yankees were three outs away from a 5-4 win in Fenway Park but it never happened. That was because Mariano Rivera gave up an RBI triple to Reggie Jefferson in the bottom of the ninth after a three-run rally off Heathcliff Slocumb and Jim Corsi. Rivera left the bases loaded by retiring Jeff Frye on a pop-up. Until the 15th, the Yankees stranded six runners but busted out against Kerry Lacy and Rich Garces. They took the lead on Paul O'Neill's RBI single, added another run on Scott Pose's single followed by Wade Boggs' three-run home run. Jeff Nelson finished a game that saw 33 hits and 28 men left on base when he retired Darren Bragg with two on.
7 - 5-1-1996 - Yankees 11, Orioles 6 (15) - Yankee fans might remember this one as one of the nights the 1996 Yankees arrived and seemed like a championship contender. A night after a 13-10 win, the Yankees blew a 6-5 lead when John Wetteland gave up a run without allowing a hit. But after Roberto Alomar's sacrifice fly tied it, Wetteland struck Bobby Bonilla out and Jim Mecir stranded seven in the next three innings. Andy Pettitte pitched the 13th and ended it on a Manny Alexander double play. In the 15th, the Yankees exploded off Jimmy Myers after Kent Mercker put two on. The go-ahead run was a Tino Martinez grand slam and Gerald Williams added insurance. When Rafael Palmeiro grounded out. the Yankees left Baltimore with a 1 1/2 game lead.
8 - 6-16-1991 - Rangers 4, Yankees 3 (15) - This was the second 15-inning game for this 91-loss team and was the final game of a six-game losing streak that had followed an 8-4 homestand. As the Yankee team plane waited for its journey to Toronto, the Yankees spent four hours, 24 minutes on this one. They could have headed to the airport with a 3-2 loss to Nolan Ryan but Kevin Maas led off the ninth with a home run. After Steve Farr retired the side in the ninth, the Yankees had the bases loaded after Goose Gossage hit Roberto Kelly but Matt Nokes grounded out against Kenny Rogers in the 11th. Four innings later, Texas had the final hit of a 13-hit night when Mario Diaz doubled in John Russell off Lee Gutterman.
9 - 5-5-1991 - Mariners 5, Yankees 4 (16) - The 1991 Yankees began with seven wins in their first 21 games, losing nine times by three runs or less in that span. This was one of them and it took five hours, 31 minutes to do so. The Yankees had a 2-1 lead into the seventh but Jay Buhner doubled off Farr and the game stayed tied until the 12th. In the 12th, Steve Sax scored on a Russ Swan wild pitch but Maas struck out and Mel Hall left the bases loaded. Eventually that cost the Yankees because of Harold Reynolds' RBI single off John Habyan. Four innings later, the Maas hit a solo home run off Bill Krueger but the Yankees left two on and it costed them when Greg Briley hit a two-run home run off Rich Monteleone.
10 - 6-22-1990 - Yankees 8, Blue Jays 7 (15) - In 1990, it took the Yankees two managers and over two months to reach 25 victories. In the 65th game of a 95-loss season, the Yankees won their fourth in a row and improved to 25-40 by winning a game that saw them blow a 6-1 lead. That occurred in the eighth when John Olerud hit a three-run home run off Gutterman during a five-run inning. Nothing much happened until the 15th when the Yankees loaded the bases on a missed catch error by Nelson Liriano with two outs. Then Mike Blowers knocked in Jesse Barfield and Deion Sanders with a base hit and Dave Righetti retired the side after a George Bell home run.
11 - 9-11-1988 - Yankees 5, Tigers 4 (18) - When the Yankees emerged from this six hour win, they were 3 1/2 games out of first place with 21 to play. This win completed a four-game sweep in a game that saw teams combine for 24 hits and strand 25. The Tigers tied the game on Alan Trammell's solo home run in the seventh off Neil Allen but left seven on until taking a 4-3 lead on a Torey Lovullo RBI single off Steve Shields. The Yankees weren't much better, stranding seven as well but won the game on Claudell Washington's two-run home run off Willie Hernandez.
12 - 7-11-1987 - White Sox 5, Yankees 2 (15) - In the penultimate game before the All-Star break, the Yankees overcame an early 2-0 deficit but were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position the rest of the game. They almost scored in the eighth but Rick Cerone was thrown out by left fielder Darryl Boston trying to score on Rickey Henderson's single. Eventually the White Sox broke through by scoring on Donnie Hill's RBI single and Carlton Fisk's two-run home run off Pat Clements.
13 - 8-26-1985 - Athletics 3, Yankees 2 (15) - In a one-month span, the Yankees won 29 out of 33 games and made eight games up in the AL East. This was one of the losses as the Yankees went from the second until the 13th before scoring. They appeared to win the game when Dave Winfield scored on Mike Heath's error in the 13th but Bob Shirley gave up Dwayne Murphy's sacrifice fly. After Winfield hit into a double play in the 15th, the A's seized the chance for the win and won it on Dave Collins' base hit off Shirley.
14 - 5-11-1984 - Mariners 4, Yankees 3 (17) - Imagine being a manager for two straight games beyond the 15th inning. In 1984, Yogi Berra faced that because the Yankees refused a 2-1 loss and sent the game to extra innings on a Ken Griffey RBI single. The game stayed tied until the 14th as Dave Henderson scored on Al Cowens' double off of Curt Brown but the Yankees kept the game going when Roy Smalley led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run. As the game approached its fifth hour, the Mariners regained the lead on Jack Perconte's sacrifice fly and sealed the win when Steve Kemp struck out.
15 - 5-10-1984 - Yankees 7, Indians 6 (16) - It took four hours and 53 minutes for the Yankees to sweep the Indians and complete their first series sweep of 1984. The Yankees blew a 5-2 lead in the sixth and it stayed that way until Kemp nearly cost them with an error that allowed Julio Franco to score. In the bottom of the 16th, Don Mattingly and Butch Wynegar hit RBI singles off George Frazier for the win.
16 - 6-26-1982 - Yankees 4, Indians 3 (17) - This year was a struggle and the Yankees were one out away from losing until Jerry Mumphrey scored on Wynegar's single off Dan Spillner. Goose Gossage kept the game tied by working out of a bases loaded jam in the 10th and eventually the Yankees broke through with the bases loaded in the 17th on Griffey's sacrifice fly.
17 - 8-2-1978 - Red Sox 7, Yankees 5 - Back in the 1970s a curfew existed for American League games and these rivals needed five hours and two days to complete a contest that saw the Yankees blow a 5-0 lead. The Yankees went scoreless after Chris Chambliss' RBI single in the third as they went 6-for-48 the rest of the way. In between two rain delays and a 1:16 AM suspension, the Red Sox tied it in the eighth and the next day won it in the 17th on RBI singles by Rick Burleson and Jim Rice off Ken Clay. This was part of a three-game losing streak but the Yankees then went on a 27-7 tear that included the four-game September sweep in Fenway.
1973-1977 - The first four years of the Steinbrenner era saw the Yankees win five of seven games that went 15 innings or beyond.
1965-1972 - As the Yankees of the 1960s grew older and began losing during the CBS era, the Bombers split 10 games decided by 15 innings or beyond. One was a 20-inning 4-3 win over the Red Sox in 1967 decided on an Horace Clarke RBI single off Jose Santiago.
1961-1964 - In the four years following Casey Stengal, the Yankees won the pennant each time and along the way the Yankees won five of eight games decided in the 15 or beyond. Among those games was a 22-inning, 9-7 win at Tiger Stadium on June 22, 1962 that was decided on the only home run off Jack Reed's career.
1949-1960 - As the Yankees won the penannt in all but two years under Stengal and made the transition from Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle, they played three games that went 15 innings or more. The first was an 11-10 loss in Boston on May 30, 1951 decided on Vern Stephens' home run off Spec Shea. The next was a 4-3 win over Detroit on July 28, 1957 decided on a Moose Skowron triple off Billy Hoeft, who pitched a complete game. The final game was a 6-3 loss to the Senators on August 14, 1960 decided on a Billy Consolo bases-loaded walk against Ralph Terry.
1940-1948 - As the Yankees went to war and came back from war, they split two games that reached the 15th inning or beyond. The first was a 12-6 win at Detroit on July 20, 1941 that saw four hits from DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Red Rolfe. The other was a 4-3 loss at Detroit in 17 innings.
1919-1939 - The Yankees played 20 games into the 15th or beyond and went 8-12. Data before that year such as boxscores are currently unavailable.
Based on available boxscores, the Yankees have won 34 out of 77 games that required 15 innings or more to complete. The longest game in terms of innings is the 22-inning game and this was the eighth instance since the Yankees began their present run of winning seasons in 1993.