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Crooked Numbers: Game of 24 (innings)

GCL Blue Jays, Tigers play marathon; Cody Reeds pitch on same day
September 8, 2015

The Gulf Coast League Marathon

When Detroit prospect Felix Santana tied the Gulf Coast League game between the Tigers and Blue Jays, 3-3, in the top of the seventh on July 31, no one probably thought much of it. That changed over time as the Tigers and Jays put up zero after zero all the way until the 21st inning when both teams tacked on a run. The game had to be suspended in the bottom of the 23rd due to rain and was ultimately resumed on Aug. 17. It reached the 24th when the Jays finally captured a 6-5 victory in a frame that went as follows: hit-by-pitch, hit-by-pitch, sac bunt, strikeout, strikeout, walk-off E7.

In total, the victorious Jays managed only 11 hits in their 24 innings but did walk 20 times. They also fanned 36 times in that span. Tigers hurlers Gregory Soto and Jose Lopez led the way with eight strikeouts apiece with the latter recording each of his outs across 3 2/3 frames via strikeout, although he was the unfortunate loser. Nate Abel, an undrafted free agent out of Florida's Flagler College, was the long man out of the bullpen for the Jays, giving up just an unearned run on one hit and one walk in six innings from the 16th through the 21st. The game officially lasted 7 hours, 21 minutes. It unofficially lasted 18 days.

Stingy, successful Sand Gnats

You might have heard that Class A Savannah had quite the month of August. The Sand Gnats won 18 straight games from Aug. 3-23 -- a winning streak that ended in a 1-1 tie on Aug. 23 -- and went 25-2-1 in the month. The pitching did the heavy lifting as the Savannah staff posted a collective 1.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in August. Unsurprisingly, the Sand Gnats finished the season with a South Atlantic League-best 3.13 team ERA and captured the Southern Division second-half title with a 44-22 record.

Put it on an envelope

On Aug. 23, Class A Kannapolis had a 9-5-4-6-3 putout, causing announcer to Josh Feldman to send "a shoutout to anyone who lives in Navarro, Calififornia." Some quick facts on Navarro: it is an unincorporated community named after the Navarro Lumber Company and located about three hours north of San Francisco. According to Google Maps, there is no post office in Navarro itself, with the closest one being in Philo, which is south on California State Route 128, so letters sent to 95463 zip code do not go directly there. The more you know.

Giving up dingers, smacking dingers, dingers for everybody!

One of the more interesting stories from August came when the New Britain Rock Cats needed a two-run homer by Jordan Patterson to walk off with a 7-5 win in the 15th inning of their final home game in Hardware City. The thing you might have missed is that Patterson's long ball came off Portland infielder Oscar Tejeda, who was pressed into pitching service in the 14th on what was supposed to be an off day. Tejeda shrugged off his first and only pitching miscue the next day, though, by going deep himself with a three-run shot in his first at-bat against New Hamsphire. The homer was the only one hit by either team that day and just Tejeda's fourth on the season in his 103rd game.

Go fourth and make another out

It's one of the basics of the game; there are three outs in an inning. Except apparently when there are four. On Aug. 25 in the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader between Double-A Erie and Binghamton, Mets outfielder Joe Benson hit a fly ball to SeaWolves center fielder Connor Harrell that was (allegedly) caught for the second out of the frame. We say allegedly because, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, there was apparently some confusion over whether the catch was made. Thinking the ball had fallen in, Josh Rodriguez came home to score while Jared King moved to third. The SeaWolves touched second base to retire the advancing King for the third out, but the umpires initially ruled Rodriguez's run counted considering he had scored before the third out (King) was recorded. That was until the SeaWolves appealed to third, and Rodriguez, too, was ruled out for leaving early, erasing what would have been a tying second run of the game and giving Erie four outs in the frame. The SeaWolves would eventually win, 3-1.

While we're on the topic of four, Connor Walsh struck out four batters in one inning in consecutive outings for Kannapolis on Aug. 26 and Aug. 30. He required the fourth "K" in both frames because batters in both cases advanced to first after swinging at a Walsh wild pitch for strike three.

We've all heard of twin bills, but ...

The Inland Empire 66ers might have thought they were seeing double on Aug. 23. Twin brothers David and Ryan Ledbetter tossed opposite ends of a doubleheader for Class A Advanced High Desert that day. David Ledbetter took the win in the first game, giving up three earned runs on six hits in five frames, while Ryan Ledbetter suffered the loss in Game 2 after allowing six earned runs on five hits and two walks in just three innings.

Ryan Ledbetter (above) and his brother, David, started each end of a doubleheader for High Desert. (Mike Andruski/

Just put that anywhere

With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the fifth inning in West Michigan's 9-3 win over Clinton on Aug. 6, Whitecaps catcher Kade Scivicque let a Spencer Turnbull pitch get to the backstop. Austin Cousino scored, and Pat Leyland moved to second. There the play would have ended -- one of several passed balls on any given night in the Minors -- had Scivicque been correct that he'd been granted time out.

Instead, with a runner on second base, home plate umpire JC Velez-Morales chose not to honor Scivicque's request for time, and so it was a live ball that the catcher haphazardly flipped toward the home dugout. Leyland raced around from second and scored, and Scivicque was charged with a throwing error in addition to his passed ball.

On second thought...

When Greensboro's Mason Davis put a good swing on a pitch from Kannapolis starter Spencer Adams in the second inning of the Grasshoppers' 2-1 loss to the Intimidators on Aug. 6, the Miami second-base prospect thought he'd homered on consecutive days for the first time as a pro.

After some consideration, though, the would-be three-run homer was overturned by the umpiring crew, who determined that the ball had actually been foul. Greensboro manager Kevin Randel vehemently argued with the ruling, but all it got him was an ejection.

As for Davis, product of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, he didn't wait long to homer in back-to-back games in an official capacity. He went yard on Aug. 22 and again on Aug. 23, giving him six dingers on the year.

Twenty takes it

One thing about the Minors: not many players are with any one team long enough to set their sights on all-time franchise records. (Mike Hessman's name figures to be in the Toledo Mud Hens' record books even longer than it will stand atop the Minor League U.S. homers list.)

For Blue Jays righty Casey Lawerence, though, parts of four seasons was enough to become Double-A New Hampshire's all-time wins leader. And in actuality, the 27-year-old hurler required only parts of two years; although he pitched for the Fisher Cats in 2012 and 2013, he didn't earn a win in the Eastern League until last season, when he was 9-9 with a 3.69 ERA there.

On Aug. 6, he improved to 11-10 on the season with New Hampshire's 2-0 shutout at Richmond, giving him 20 wins with the franchise to pass Deck McGuire. Lawrence boosted the record up to 21 on Aug. 25 but took a loss on Sept. 4 in his last start of the year.

Casey Lawrence (left) passed Deck McGuire (right) for the New Hampshire win lead. (Ashley Marshall and Kevin Pataky)

Let's go to Biloxi!

As the July Crooked Numbers column noted, the Double-A Mississippi Braves do not have a surplus of power hitters in the lineup. But when they head to Biloxi, the bus must stop at a roadside spinach stand along the way. After their final series at the Shuckers (ending Aug. 11), the M-Braves had tallied 10 homers in eight games in Biloxi's MGM Park.

By comparison, at that point the club had socked just 20 homers over 105 games every place else.

Anywhere but Rancho Cucamonga

The Lake Elsinore Storm (48-89 after games of Sept. 4) have not had success anywhere in the Cal League, but life was particularly hard on them at Rancho Cucamonga's LoanMart Field.

By the end of the Storm's 9-1 loss to the Quakes on Aug. 16, they must have been glad to get out there. The defeat was their 15th in 15 games at Rancho Cucamonga this year.

Predictably, Cody Reed won the Cody Reed-off

Perhaps left-handed starting pitcher Cody Reed is on your radar, but have you been paying attention to left-handed starting pitcher Cody Reed?

On the season, Reed, ranked No. 9 among Reds prospects, was 12-9 with a 2.51 ERA over 139 2/3 innings across two levels and three leagues as of Sept. 5.

Whereas Reed, ranked No. 11 among D-backs prospects, was 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA over 63 1/3 innings for Class A Short Season Hillsboro as of the same date.

A momentous event took place this Aug. 15, when for the first time in their pro careers, the Reeds pitched on the same day. Arizona's Reed struck out seven over five scoreless innings in the Hops' 10-9 win over Vancouver, and Cincinnati's Reed was victorious with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in Pensacola's 2-1 win at Biloxi.

Unfortunately, the Reeds' schedules fell out of sync after that day. Minor League astronomers are hard at work calculating when they're likely to start on the same day again and what the odds are of the pair facing one another at some point on a Minor (or Major) League diamond.

Ex-Royal Cody Reed is now a Reds prospect; D-backs Cody Reed is a Hillsboro ace. (Alan Jamison and Jared Ravich)

Josh Jackson and Sam Dykstra are contributors to