It was approaching half-past two in the morning and Kirk Gibson seemed to be in a daze. He glanced down at his blue scorecard and asked the assembled reporters a question. “What was the time of game?” he said. Seven-oh-six he was told. The same as the time of the first pitch. “Oh God” Gibson said. That was pretty much the general reaction after the Diamondbacks won an 18-inning 12-7 game over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night in the longest game in franchise history. It easily outlasted the previous mark of five hours 53 minutes on May 29 2001 at San Francisco. It tied for the longest in terms of innings. And it left everyone involved shaking their heads and exhausted. And maybe a little delirious. “I’m pretty tired” Gibson said. “I don’t even know what to tell you. I’m thirsty.” Both teams used 22 players emptying their bullpens and calling upon starting pitchers. The Diamondbacks went to right-hander Trevor Cahill (four innings two hits no runs) who was scheduled to start on Tuesday. The Phillies turned to right-hander Tyler Cloyd (five innings two hits no runs) who was supposed to start on Sunday. The 20 combined pitchers used tied a major league record. “All the guys in extra innings stepped up huge putting up zeros over and over and over again after us not scoring” Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington said. “Their guys did a great job. Our guys did a great job. It was whoever was going to figure a way to get a run across the board. It took 18 but we finally figured out how.” That’s because the Phillies whose starter Ethan Martin last just two-thirds of an inning had to turn to a position player – not once but twice – and that ended up being the difference. At one point Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg asked around his dugout to see who had experience pitching. Right fielder Casper Wells said he had pitched earlier this season while a member of the Chicago White Sox. He said he was ready to go. And so while the Phillies were at bat in the bottom of the 17th Wells was in the home bullpen loosening up. When the 18th inning began he looked nothing like a position player. His fastball was in the low-90s. His change-up according to Diamondbacks outfielder Tony Campana was “really good.” And he got the first two batters out before walking Campana on five pitches. Campana immediately thought about stealing second. “Being a position player I thought he was going to be real slow to the plate” Campana said. “He kind of caught me off guard with the first pitch when he was almost a 1-(second) flat to the plate. Then I kind of got a big lead to see if he could pick over and he wasn’t. That’s probably the biggest lead I’ve had and I just took off.” When Adam Eaton laced the pitch into left-center field Campana was nearly to second when the ball hit the grass. “When I saw the ball go to the outfield I was like ‘Well I think I can make it’” he said. “So then I immediately picked up (third-base coach Matt Williams) almost from second base.” He scored easily. It was the first run scored in the game since the eighth inning when Darin Ruf had launched an elevated fastball from Heath Bell into the left-center field stands for a two-run home run. That feels like days ago but back then it was a game the Diamondbacks had seemed certain to win and win easily. They scored three times in the first inning against Martin and by the top of the sixth inning owned a 7-1 lead. But the Phillies clawed back. They scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to make it 7-3 and then scored four times in the eighth off left-hander Joe Thatcher and Bell. For Bell it was his seventh blown save tying him for the most in the National League. For the Diamondbacks it was their 24th tying them for the most in the major leagues. “It’s disappointing but we moved on” Gibson said. “We don’t have to do it this way. But we did it.” The ninth through 17th innings were a blur of missed chances of stranded baserunners and intentional walks. Nobody could score.
Diamondbacks top Phillies 12-7 in 18 innings
Arizona Republic | Aug 25