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Cleveland Indians pitch extra-innings shutout, a rare and wondrous thing

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Not a thing you see every day...

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Carlos Carrasco and a trio of relievers combined to throw a 12-inning shutout for the Indians last night. Such a thing has never been common, but has grown more rare over the years.

Between 1914 (the earliest year we have the data for) and 1960 (the final year before expansion and the longer schedule), there were 254 games in which a team won in extra-innings while throwing a shutout, out of 58,537 total games a team won. That works out to 1 out of every 230 victories being an extra-innings shutout.

From 1961 to 1992 (the final year before the most-recent wave of expansion began, and roughly when offense exploded), there were 298 such games, out of 61,114 total victories. That works out to 1 out of every 205 victories.

Since 1993 there have 135 extra-innings victories, out of 53,302 total victories, or 1 out of every 395 victories.

That trend is mostly just tied to overall offense though, and as scoring has fallen off in the last few years, the extra-innings shutout has seen something of a return. Last night's was already the 11th of 2015, which puts the season on pace for 17 of them, which would be MLB"s highest total since 1976, when a record 26 extra-innings shutouts occurred.

A shutout lasting 12 innings or longer is of course even more rare. As recently as 2012, there weren't any such games all season, and with scoring being higher in the American League due largely to the presence of a DH instead of a pitcher in the lineup, games like last night's have been far more rare in the AL. Since 1973 (when the DH as introduced), there have been just 48 shutouts lasting 12+ innings. The longest shutout ever in a game that featured the DH is 17 innings, which happened twice: Once in 1974 (when the Orioles beat the Brewers), and once in 2004 (when the Brewers beat the Angels).

The longest shutout in any MLB game lasted an incredible 24 innings, and took place on April 15, 1968 (the Year of the Pitcher), and ended with the Astros beating the Mets 1-0. Houston starter Don Wilson pitched the first 9 innings of that one (Hall of Famer Tom Seaver pitched the first 10 innings for the Mets), and was followed by four relievers, including Jim Ray, who struck out 11 in his 7 innings of scoreless relief.

How about just the Indians?

Last night was only the team's 37th extra-innings shutout victory since  at least 1914, and only the their 14th during that time to last 12+ innings. Of those 37 extra-innings shutouts for the Tribe, only 3 have happened since 1992.

The franchise record for longest shutout victory is 15 innings, accomplished three times. First by Willis Hudlin (who went all 15 innings) in 1935, then by Bob Feller (11) and Bon Muncrief (4) in 1948, and finally by Jim Perry (8) and Frank Funk (7) in 1961. The Tribe's longest shutout in a game with a DH is 14 innings, done in 1992 and in 2003.

It was a late night for anyone in Cleveland who stayed up for all 12 innings, but if you were among those who did, you saw something pretty rare.