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Rays 5, Twins 2: Apocalypse Eventually

How to lose one game, but make it feel like eight

Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

From the Journal of Tawny Jarvi, survivor of the Endless Game and member of the Twinkie Town tribe. Found in 2099:

How did this game start out? How did the first 4 runs happen? What day is it even? These questions no longer matter. They are just fragments of memories rattling around in some old and tired brains. They are as meaningless as the white noise that dominates the airwaves in this post apocalyptic wasteland. 18 innings ago the world was still a vibrant place full of life. I was just a child then, and now in the final throes of old age perhaps it is finally time reflect on how we got here, and where we are.

It started with a rain delay. Remember rain? We thought of it as an annoyance then. It also started with Martín Peréz. Back then we were so innocent. So naive. Peréz went 7 innings, nearly a complete game we thought. He was stellar as he usually was, as meaningless as this fact is now. He gave up 2 runs, in the 2nd inning I believe. The Twins had already scored 2 of their own in the first. Jorge Polanco scored on a Mitch Garver groundout, and later Nelson Cruz scored after a throwing error by the Rays left fielder on a ball hit by Luis Arraez. They weren't pretty runs, but we were happy to have them.

With the game tied in the 2nd, we all thought it wouldn't last. Sure both teams had good pitching staffs, but you never expect something like this. The Rays had used Ryne Stanek as an opener. By the 3rd inning the Rays were already dipping into their bullpen. We figured we would wear them down eventually. I can almost remember the feeling of hope I had then. The warmth in my soul that has been lost to time, stolen along with my youth by this accursed game.

The 3rd passed without runs. Then the 4th, and the 5th, and the 6th, and the 7th. We began to joke about as Tyler Duffey came in to pitch the 8th. "This game is going to last forever.” I joked to my friends, may their souls rest in peace, but none of us truly believed it. Someone would score soon. They had to.

Nothing in the 8th, nothing in the 9th. We slipped breathlessly into extra innings. It happened now and again to every team. Someone would end it in the 10th or 11th, surely? The Twins were a power hitting team and only needed one swing to end it.

The Rays loaded the bases in the 10th with no outs. It wasn't the result we wanted, but deliverance was upon us. But a miracle happened, or perhaps we now remember it as a curse. Blake Parker got himself together and and escaped the jam with the help of a diving play by Miguel Sanó.

Innings crept by almost without sound. New relievers came and went without much of note. Fans eyes began to glaze over, burned out by the ceaseless inanity of the situation as much as by they had been by the harsh sun.

The 11th came and went, and then the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and even 17th. There were little nibbles of threats now and again. The specifics have faded from this old mind, but all that matters is none came to fruition. Time had become meaningless as the world groaned its final breaths of life and the stands became the home of a calamity of silent and motionless chaos.

Finally the 18th came, and Ryne Harper ended the game. That poor man, who had been used many games in a row. There was no other choice, he had to be the one.

He walked Brandon Lowe and then hit Travis d'Arnaud. Tommy Pham then singled to load the bases. Had our time finally come? I remember thinking back to the 11th inning when such a situation was escaped. We were tired, but conditioned by this madness to believe it would never end.

Then Yandy Diaz hit a sacrifice fly and finally the score was 3-2. We felt jolts within our spines like the heavens reminding us we were still alive. Willy Adames and Ji-Man Choi followed with back-to-back singles and the score was 5-3 in favor of the Rays.

The Twins came up for their half of the 18th. Jake Cave led off with a single and for a moment we thought they might tie the game back up.

However the reanimated husks of the umpires, revived by the hands of necromancers, wished otherwise. With a strike zone as large as the encroaching sun, the next two batters would strike out. Jorge Polanco came up, knowing he was an All-Star starter, whatever that meant anymore. Even he could not return us to a tie game. Finally the Rays put us out of our misery and the game that could not end was ended.

The fans and players alike stumbled out of the stadium and into a world that had forgotten them. A world that they had forgotten.

May those brave players never be forgotten like all that had come before them.

STUDS: I'm so tired.

DUDS: I need pizza.