I occasionally go back and try to do research on old Mariner games to come up with interesting moments, reasons to start a rivalry with another team, and stuff that amuses me.
Today, I'm reaching back to April 3, 1977, the Minnesota Twins taking on the expansion Seattle Mariners, the third game of a four game series.
Pitching was on display as the game went 8 innings until the first score. Catcher Bob "Scrapiron" Stinson began the Mariner 8th with a double, and was replaced by a pinch runner. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third and a groundout scored the run, thereby cementing the concept of "productive outs" for an entire fandom.
In the ninth, however, it was Twins Catcher Butch Wynegar who sent one over the fence, redeeming himself from having lined into a double play in the 7th. With a runner on, the Twins took a 2-1 lead going into the bottom half of the ninth. Ruppert Jones started the inning with a triple, but Steve Braun could not score him on a flyout to left. Bill Stein, the Mariner third baseman, grounded into a fielders' choice; Jones was out at home, which left the situation looking bleak with a runner on first, two outs, and down a run. Jose Baez came in to pinch run, moved to second on a Dan Meyer single, and scored to tie the game on a Tommy Smith single. With two on and two out, however, the M's would not score again and the game went into extras.
The M's had some tension in the top of the 10th when the Twins put a runner on second with nobody out, and moved two runners into scoring position with two out, but they could not come away with a run, leaving the score tied, but the Mariners went down quietly in the 10th, 1-2-3.
Again the Twins threatened in the 11th, loading the bases with one out, but the M's induced a pop up and a ground out to retire the side. The offense still would not wake back up for Seattle, though, and again went down in order. It would happen again in the 12th, Twins pitchers filing away 9 Mariner batters in a row.
Larry Milbourne, M's second baseman and leadoff batter in this game, led off the bottom of the 13th with a single, and moved into scoring position on a balk, creating a golden opportunity for Dave Collins and Ruppert Jones, but they were both retired.
With two outs, Steve Braun singled to center field off Minnesota pitcher Tom Burgmeier to score Milbourne and give the M's a win in their first-ever extra-inning contest. The 13-inning affair between the Twins and Mariners would also be the M's longest game (in terms of innings) all year, however it was only the second longest game by time.