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On This Date in Sports August 23, 1989: A Long Night in Montreal

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Runs are hard to come by at Olympic Stadium in a game between the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers. The game is scoreless for 21 innings before Rick Dempsey hits a home run off Dennis Martinez to give Los Angeles a 1-0 win in 22 innings. The game is best remembered for mascot hijinks, as Youppi! the orange mascot of the Expos is ejected after trying to take a nap on the Dodgers dugout.

It had been a frustrating year for Tommy Lasorda and the Los Angeles Dodgers. A year after winning the World Series the Dodgers were struggling at 59-67 and all but out of the playoff picture. The Montreal Expos meanwhile were rolling the dice in 1989. Managed by Buck Rodgers they made a calculated gamble trading pitching prospect Randy Johnson to the Seattle Mariners for Mark Langston, a veteran who was a pending free agent. As August was nearing an end, Montreal was in third in a tight four-team race with a record of 69-57.

The Dodgers lineup was somewhat depleted by injuries as Orel Hershiser made a Wednesday Night start on the road, while Pascual Perez made the start for Montreal. It was a game of wasted opportunities as both teams were hitless with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers had 13 such opportunities, leaving 14 runners on base, while the Expos left 13 men on base as they had ten at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Both starters were gone by the time, the tenth inning arrived, as Jay Howell came on for the Dodgers in the eight, and Tim Burke came on to pitch for the Expos in the ninth. Each reliever went two innings, with Alejandro Pena coming on for the Dodgers in the tenth, and Bryan Smith pitching for Montreal in the 11th. That inning saw Youppi! dancing on top of the visiting dugout, drawing the ire of Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Youppi! would be led away as the game sauntered on. In the 13th inning, the Expos orange mascot returned wearing pajamas and carrying a pillow to lay down for a nap on the Dodgers dugout. Once again, Lasorda was not amused as the Expos mascot was asked to leave the field for the remainder of the game.

After Youppi!’s unceremonious ejection, the game continued late into the night past midnight, as Alejandro Pena did not allow a run in four innings for the LA, while Rich Thompson was nearly unhittable for the Expos, pitching six scoreless innings. Montreal appeared to have the game won in the 16th as Larry Walker scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Fitzgerald. However, after an appeal play, the umpires ruled Walker left third-base to early. Tim Crews came on and pitched three innings before John Wetteland took the mound in the 17th inning. Wetteland would allow just two hits in six innings as the game began to enter record territory as the second-longest scoreless game in MLB history. Dennis Martinez a starting pitcher was pressed into duty in to start in the 21st for the Expos. One inning later, he served up a home run to Rick Dempsey a former battery mate with the Baltimore Orioles. It was also the longest game in Expos history.

Staked with a 1-0 lead, John Wetteland got Tim Wallach to fly out to start the inning. After a strikeout of Mike Fitzgerald, Rex Hudler kept hope alive in Montreal with a two-out single. However, trying to get in scoring position, Hudler was thrown out trying to steal to end the game. The Dodgers would finish the year in fourth place at 77-83, while Expos faded and also finished fourth at 81-81 as Mark Langston left for the California Angels.