The longest game in American baseball history occurred on April 18, 1981, between the Pawtucket Red Sox and visiting Rochester Red Wings of the Triple-A International League. The game lasted 33 innings, and it took more than two months to finish it because it was put into delay tied 2-2 after 32 innings. When the teams resumed play on June 23, Pawtucket won it by a score of 3-2 in the bottom of the 33rd inning. The historic game included future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. along with future MLB players Bob Ojeda and Marty Barrett.

Will that ever be topped? And might it happen this postseason?

That, as they say, is why they play the games, and baseball has never ceased to supply surprises while being played over the past 175 years in the United States.

If it happens in this year’s postseason, only the baseball gods will know beforehand.

What is the longest 0-0 postseason game in MLB Playoff history?

Game 3 of the 2022 American League Championship Series was played on Oct. 15 of last year between the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. It was 0-0 until the Astros took a 1–0 lead in the top of the 18th inning on a home run by shortstop Jeremy Peña. The Mariners went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the 18th, allowing the Astros to complete a three-game sweep and advance to the American League Championship Series. It took 6 hours, 22 minutes to finish the longest shutout in postseason history, and the 17 scoreless innings set a major-league postseason record.

What is the longest MLB Playoff game?

The longest postseason game by innings in MLB history is 18 innings, which has happened four times -- all four of which were decided on a solo home run hit in the 18th inning by the winning team. Those games were the aforementioned Seattle-Houston game, Game 4 of the Braves-Astros National League Divisional Series in 2005 won by the Astros 7-6; Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series with the visiting San Francisco Giants defeating the Washington Nationals 2-1, and Game 3 of the 2018 World Series when the Dodgers won 3-2 (with a duration of 7 hours and 20 minutes, this was also the longest postseason game by time in MLB history),

The Top 10 Longest MLB Playoff games of All Time

  1. Oct. 25, 2005 --World Series Game 3

Matchup: Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
14 innings
Final Score: White Sox 7, Astros 5

At the time, this game set the World Series record for longest duration (5 hours, 41 minutes) and tied the record for the most innings played. Chicago’s Geoff Blum hit a leadoff homer in the top of the 14th inning, and Chris Widger drew a bases-loaded walk. Houston put runners on the corners in the bottom of the inning, but could not score, and the White Sox went on to win the World Series for their first championship since 1917.

  1. Oct. 18, 2004 – ALCS Game 5

Matchup: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
14 innings
Final Score
: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4

This series is remembered for being the first and only time a team came back from an 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. Game 5 was played at Fenway Park in Boston, and the Yankees led 4-2 before surrendering two runs in the bottom of the eighth. The game remained tied until Johnny Damon and Manny Ramírez walked, bringing up David “Big Papi” Ortiz with two outs. The previous night's hero did his job again, singling to center on the 10th pitch of the at-bat to bring home Damon. Boston went on to sweep St. Louis in the World Series and end a championship drought that dated back to 1918.

  1. Oct. 27, 2015 – World Series Game 1

Matchup: New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals
14 innings
Final Score: Royals 5, Mets 4.

This game featured the first World Series inside-the-park home run since 1929, and the Mets were one out away from winning in the bottom of the ninth before Alex Gordon hit a game-tying home run. In the bottom of the 14th, a throwing error by David Wright allowed the first batter, Alcides Escobar, to reach base. He moved to third on a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brad Hosmer. The game ended at 12:18 a.m., lasting five hours and nine minutes.

  1. Oct. 4, 1995 – ALDS Game 2

Matchup: Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees
15 innings
Final Score:
Yankees 7, Mariners 5

After both teams scored in the 12th inning to turn a 4-4 game into a 5-5 game, this five-hour, 12-minute epic ended when Jim Leyritz hit a game-ending two-run walk-off home run against Tim Belcher. At the time, it was the longest game in terms of hours and minutes in Major League Baseball history. The Yankees’ Ruben Sierra nearly ended it in the 12th, but his long blast missed being a home run by just a couple of feet and ended up being a game-tying double.

  1. Oct. 17, 1999 – NLCS Game 5

Matchup: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets
15 innings
Final Score: Mets 4, Astros 3

This one ended on a grand slam that actually wasn’t a grand slam. The Braves had gone ahead 3-2 in the top of the 15th inning, but the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom of the 15th. New York’s Robin Ventura hit a game-winning home run and was mobbed by his teammates between first and second base -- never making it to third. The official scorer ruled it a two-run single, but the end result was that the Mets extended the series, although they lost it in the next game when Atlanta won a 10-9 classic in 11 innings.

  1. Oct. 15, 1986 – NLCS Game 6

Matchup: New York Mets vs. Houston Astros
16 innings
Final Score: Mets 7, Astros 6

One of the greatest postseason games in baseball history turned out quite well for the Miracle Mets of 1986, who would go on to win the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. It was a 3-3 game after nine innings. Both teams scored once in the 14th inning, and in the 16th inning the Mets scored three times in the top of the inning and the Astros scored twice in the bottom. The game ended when Mets pitcher Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass on a full count with the tying run on second base.

  1. Oct. 9, 2005 – NLDS Game 4

Matchup: Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros
Length: 18 innings
Final Score: Astros 7, Braves 6

This was an epic comeback that put the Astros into the NLCS. Atlanta led 6-1 heading into the eighth inning, but Houston scored four runs in the eighth on a grand slam by Lance Berkman and one in the ninth to tie it. The Astros' Chris Burke, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, hit a walk-off home run to end it in the 18th. The game lasted five hours and 50 minutes.

  1. Oct. 15, 2022 – ALDS Game 3

Matchup: Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros
18 innings
Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 18th inning on a home run by shortstop Jeremy Peña, and the Mariners went down in order in the bottom of the 18th to end the six-hour, 22-minute affair. With the win, the Astros swept the series and eventually went on to the World Series, where they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies for the second World Series championship in their history. 

  1. Oct. 5, 2014 – NLCS Game 2

Matchup: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals
18 innings
Final Score: Giants 2, Nationals 1

This was only the second 18-inning game in Major League Baseball postseason history, and it ended just after midnight on the East Coast, lasting six hours and 23 minutes. Jordan Zimmerman had a 1-0 shutout for Washington with two outs in the ninth inning when he walked a batter, prompting manager Matt Williams to pull him from the game. Pablo Sandoval hit a game-tying double off reliever Drew Storen to make it a longer night than it might have been if Williams hadn’t been such an overthinker.

  1. Oct. 26, 2018 – World Series Game 3

Matchup: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
18 innings
Final Score:
Dodgers 3, Red Sox 2

In differentiating between the four 18-inning postseason games, we used the actual duration (in hours and minutes) of the game as a tiebreaker. This one lasted 7:20, which is short for a Ken Burns documentary but long for a game meant to be played in two or three hours. The Dodgers’ Max Muncy, who had missed a walk-off home run in the 15th inning by mere inches, hit a walk-off solo home run off of Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi for a 3-2 victory.

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