2011: A Chiefs Odyssey – Kevin’s Number 8
#8 – The Neverending Story
If there’s a day you want to play a game lasting 4 hours, 8 minutes – and I’m not sure there is – it certainly isn’t the fourth-to-last day of the regular season. But that’s what happened on September 2 at Frontier Field. Yep, this game ended up feeling something like this.
Funny thing was, this one seemed like a routine victory in the making right off the bat. The Chiefs scored one run in the first inning, two in the third, one in the fourth, and one in the fifth, carrying a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the frame. In fact, starting pitcher Craig Stammen had allowed just two hits and one unearned run going into the inning. Then, as they say, the proverbial floodgates opened. Here’s how the play-by-play reads:
“Red Wings 5th (Red Wings 8, Chiefs 5) — B. Dinkelman singles to center field. A. Bates doubles down the left-field line, B. Dinkelman to 3rd. S. Holm singles through the hole at shortstop, B. Dinkelman scores; A. Bates to 3rd. B. Roberts triples to right field, A. Bates scores; S. Holm scores. With M. Tolbert batting, passed ball by J. Solano, B. Roberts scores. M. Tolbert walks. R. Chang flies out to C. Curran. With J. Bailey batting, M. Tolbert steals 2nd base. J. Bailey doubles down the left-field line, M. Tolbert scores. Pitcher Change: J. Mandel replaces C. Stammen. D. Martin triples down the left-field line, J. Bailey scores. C. Lambin singles to center field, D. Martin scores. B. Dinkelman strikes out swinging. A. Bates singles to right-center field, C. Lambin to 3rd. S. Holm strikes out swinging.”
That’s seven runs on eight hits, four of them for extra bases. There was also a passed ball, a walk, and a stolen base. It was a bizarre turnaround – especially considering Syracuse had given up seven runs in a game against Rochester just twice in 14 previous tries. Down 8-5, the Chiefs seemed all but finished when All-Star Red Wings left-hander Chuck James entered the game in the eighth inning. But after a Steve Lombardozzi ground out, Seth Bynum walked and Tug Hulett singled. Down three runs with five outs to go – enter Jesus Valdez.
The game would head to extra innings, somehow, after both teams left a pair of runners on base in their respective halves of the ninth. The time of the game at that point was longer than 3:39 – meaning it would have been the longest nine-inning game of the Chiefs’ season. What it actually was is now just a hazy memory in a game full of insanity.
Syracuse took the lead in the tenth on Corey Brown’s clutch two-out, two-run single. They would need both. Rochester got one run back on a Dustin Martin RBI single off of Josh Wilkie – but with Ray Chang on second base and Martin to first, Chase Lambin popped out to shortstop to end the game.
And one more note from this game: Chris Curran, an outfielder who hit a combined .253 between Potomac, Hagerstown, and the GCL Nationals was called up at the end of the season to take Chris Marrero’s roster spot, after the first baseman’s promotion to the big leagues. Curran struck out in his first two Triple-A at-bats and was 0-for-3 coming into the game. In his first at-bat of the night – his first Triple-A start – he tripled off the top of the wall. Curran ended up going 3-for-5, and as a left-handed hitter, was 3-3 against lefties and 0-2 against righties in the game. Go figure.
Oh, and one more reminder, I was solo in the booth for all 4:08 of the extravaganza. Feel my pain, JB.