August 15, 2006: Two separate games went into the 18th inning on the same day for the first time in Major League history.
At 7:05 P.M. Mountain Time, the Chicago Cubs took on the Houston Astros in an NL Central showdown.
With Astros starter Roger Clemens struggling, the Cubs took a 5-2 lead on a fifth inning Jacque Jones home run, but bullpen issues from Chicago allowed the Astros to take a 6-5 lead going into the top of the ninth.
Chicago fought back to tie the game on a pinch-hitting home run by Matt Murton off Houston closer Brad Lidge, and the next eight innings were scoreless for both teams. Murton -– forced to stay in the game because Chicago had used all 25 players on its active roster -- was again the hero in the top of the 18th inning, when his two-RBI single led the team to an 8-6 win over the Astros.
Meanwhile, an hour after Chicago and Houston got underway, the Arizona Diamondbacks headed to Colorado to take on the Rockies in an NL West battle.
While this game wasn't as offensively exciting – starters Miguel Batista (Arizona) and Jason Jennings (Colorado) both had fine efforts as the game was 1-1 going into extra innings. It was just as grueling, as there were again eight scoreless extra innings before Arizona's Luis Gonzalez finally broke the ice with an 18th inning RBI single, helping Arizona to a 2-1 victory.
With both games complete, the teams made MLB history, as this was the first time in the league's 104-year history that two different games starting on the same day had gone at least 18 innings (although both games proceeded to pass midnight in their respective host towns).
The feat has only been matched once since, with Toronto beating Texas 4-3 (18 inn.) and Florida beating the Mets 2-1 (20 inn.) June 8, 2013.
Although all four teams missed the 2006 playoffs, Houston was particularly hurt by its result. The Astros ended the regular season 82-80, only one win behind the NL Central champion Cardinals –- who went on to capture the 2006 World Series title.