Kenny Albert was behind the mic in St. Louis on April 17, 2010 for the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals on Fox Sports. The nationally televised Game of the Week shaped up to be a low-scoring pitcher’s duel between Mets ace Johan Santana and Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.
It was more than expected.
Not only did the Mets and Cardinals go scoreless for nine innings, they proceeded to play an entire second game worth of innings without either team scoring a run.
The Mets broke the ice in the 19th inning. The Cardinals tied it 1-1 in the home half of the inning. The Mets pulled ahead again in the 20th inning and held on to win.
Nearly seven hours after the first pitch — six hours, 53 minutes to be exact — it was done. Final: Mets – 2, Cardinals – 1.
Maybe the most incredible footnote of the game was the fact that Fox play-by-play broadcaster Kenny Albert never used the bathroom. Not once. It’s not that he couldn’t — or wouldn’t. he just didn’t. It’s one of those unwritten historical records. Albert joins the MetsRewind Podcast and shares his experience of the game. His full scorecard from the game is also captured below.
The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals have a long, rich — and occasionally, twisted — history. The latter adjective would be a fair description of the game played at Busch Stadium on April 17, 2010.
The Saturday afternoon Game of the Week on Fox started as a pitchers duel. Mets ace Johan Santana fired seven shutout innings while his counterpart, Jaime Garcia, matched him pitch-for-pitch. The game eventually drifted into extra innings without a run being scored.
If the scoreless tie didn’t provide enough intrigue and attention, the Mets and Cardinals unintentionally stumbled through another entire game before the Mets broke the ice in the 19th inning when Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur hit a sacrifice fly to left in his ninth plate appearance, scoring Jose Reyes from third. The first run of the game was scored 6 hours 15 minutes after the first pitch was thrown.
The Cardinals tied the game in the bottom of the 19th. The Mets jumped back on top in the 20th inning after Angel Pagan reached on an infield single, advanced to third on a single by Mike Jacobs and scored on sacrifice fly by Reyes.
The Mets need three more outs. It felt one thousand miles away.
Mike Pelfrey, a fresh arm for the Mets, came in and quickly surrendered a hit and a walk before shutting down the Cardinals, and ending the third-longest game in franchise history (length of game measured by time).
One @MetsRewind Twitter followers questioned his own sanity for watching every pitch of the game. “Call me crazy but I watched literally almost every pitch of that game,” wrote @JLCHaparro8.
Fear not, JohnLuke. Everyone watching felt pulled into the Twilight Zone at some point during the extra frames — even the payers. “I’ve never played 20 innings before in my life,” Reyes said. “That was a crazy game. Crazy game.”
Reyes was just being kind. The game took 6 hours and 53 minutes to complete, it consumed 46 players, 158 plate appearances, 35 men were left on base (combined), two position players pitched (Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather), and 19 pitchers (combined).
Mets pitchers John Maine and Jon Niese were used as a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter, respectively. And consider this: If you happened to stumble on to the game on television in the 18th inning, at one point Lopez (a position player) was pitching to Raul Valdes (a relief pitcher making his first plate appearance as a major league pitcher) while Kyle Lohse (Cardinals pitcher) was playing left field for the Cardinals — and, the game was still scoreless.