19 Innings: Valdez gets win, Phils defeat Reds 5-4

Philadelphia Phillies' Raul Ibanez follows through after hitting the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the 19th inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 5-4, in 19 innings. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

May 25, 2011 10:57:10 PM PDT
Infielder Wilson Valdez wound up as the winning pitcher early Thursday when the Philadelphia Phillies needed 19 innings to outlast the Cincinnati Reds 5-4.

A dwindling crowd at Citizens Bank Park saw Raul Ibanez hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to decide the longest major league game of the season. It ended at 1:19 a.m. after 6 hours, 11 minutes.

Not much time for rest, either. The teams were set to play again Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

Valdez threw a hitless 19th inning in his first professional pitching appearance. Phillies fans stood and chanted "Let's go, Wilson!" when the 33-year-old journeyman shifted from second to the mound.

The first batter Valdez faced was Joey Votto, and the reigning NL MVP flied out to deep center field.

Valdez (1-0) became the first position player to become a winning pitcher since Colorado catcher Brent Mayne on Aug. 22, 2000, STATS LLC said. Mayne went one inning in a 7-6 victory over Atlanta in 12 innings.

Some fans, young and old, already were asleep in the stands as the game played on. But plenty of the die-hards who stuck around made it a lively atmosphere, especially when Valdez took over as Philadelphia's ninth pitcher.

Valdez threw one pitch to the backstop and hit Scott Rolen. But the Phillies' newest right-hander then retired Jay Bruce on a fly ball and got down Reds reliever Carlos Fisher (0-1) on a popup. Fisher, the Reds' seventh pitcher, worked 5 2-3 innings and gave up one run and four hits.

Fisher finally wore down when Jimmy Rollins singled to opened the 19th, Domonic Brown walked and Placido Polanco sacrificed. Thousands of fans derisively chanted "Fisher! Fisher!" before he intentionally walked Ryan Howard to load the bases. Ibanez hit a fly to deep center to win it.

Bruce homered in the 10th for the Reds, then Howard went deep and tied it in the bottom half. They ended up playing the longest game in the eight-season history of the ballpark.

By time, the Reds and Phillies still had a long way to go to match the latest-ending game in the big leagues this year. It was 2:45 a.m. at Fenway Park when the Los Angeles Angels beat Boston in the 13th inning of a rain-delayed game earlier this month.

Roy Halladay and the Phillies led 3-0 before the Reds rallied in the seventh.

The Phillies still had a couple innings left to match the longest game in team history: a 2-1 loss to Chicago in 21 innings on July 17, 1918.

The Reds lost to San Francisco 1-0 in 21 innings on Sept. 1, 1967, in the longest game in their history.

Phillies reliever Danys Baez threw 73 pitches and tossed one-hit ball over five scoreless innings. He led off the 16th using a bat that hardly looked game used, drawing chuckles from Phillies star Shane Victorino and manager Charlie Manuel in the dugout.

The Phillies squandered a chance to win it in the 18th when Valdez was stranded on second after a two-out double. Fisher retired Michael Martinez on a liner to left.