On this day ten years ago, the Cleveland Indians came from a 12-run hole to upset the Seattle Mariners 15-14 in 11 innings, the largest comeback in major league baseball history. Officially, it was simply a tie for the record. Unofficially, it's considered one of the greatest games ever played.
The comeback victory helped the Indians reach the American League Championship Series for the first time in franchise history. They would go on to beat the Angels in seven games.
This game marks the beginning of a special season for Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin. He would go on to win 22 games, lead the league in wins, and help the Tribe reach the World Series for the first time in 20 years. In fact, he is still going strong after his third season ended with Cleveland in 2013. Since then, he has pitched for several other teams including the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, and Texas Rangers. This year, he is working with the Cleveland Browns as a pitching coach.
In 2014, when asked about his favorite game as a player, Tomlin said: "This one comes up pretty often. It's such a memorable game because we came back against such a powerful lineup. We were down by a lot and managed to come back and win. That's what makes this game unique; there are so many great memories associated with it."
The largest comeback is 12 runs, and it has happened three times, most recently on August 5, 2001, when the Indians came back from a 14-2 deficit to beat the Mariners 15-14 in 11 innings. The previous two instances also involved Cleveland.
The Yankees' 12-run first inning on May 29, 1923, still stands as the largest opening score in Major League history. They defeated the Chicago White Sox, 22-0.
In 1964, the Kansas City Athletics lost 16 games by one run or less. In one such game, they trailed the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 with two out in the ninth before scoring four runs to win 4-3.
In 1998, the Montreal Expos lost 17 games by one run or less, including a 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres where they scored only one run while being hit by a pitch eight times.
In 2000, the Florida Marlins lost 16 games by one run or less, most recently on September 27 when they were beaten by the Mets 7-6 in 10 innings. It was the most losses by any team in a single season until 2008 when the Tampa Bay Rays finished with 17 defeats by one run or less.
The largest lead blown in MLB is 13 runs.
Ballgames (MLB). The current (post-1900) record for margin of victory was achieved in 2007, when the Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 30-3. (The 30 runs also set a modern-era record for runs scored by a single team in a nine-inning MLB game.) The previous record was 29 runs, which was set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and their opponent the Cincinnati Reds.
There have been other games where one team clearly dominated their opponents, but no winner has ever been declared due to time constraints. For example, in the first official game of the 1869 season between the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Mutuals, the Athletics won 9-0. However, because it took nearly three hours for each team to play a complete game at that time, the game was called before it was finished. Neither team managed more than four hits apiece that day, and there were only eight walks among all the batters who played (one per side).
In addition to being the highest scoring game in MLB history, the 2007 Ranger-Oriole game is also famous for becoming a perfect 10-0 game with two outs in the ninth inning when Alex Rodriguez hit a home run off Mike Bordick with two men on base to give his team a 3-0 lead. This mark was recently surpassed by the 2012 American League Wild Card Game which had an 11-1 final score.