PHILADELPHIA -- Demoralization filled the visitor's clubhouse in the wee hours of Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and how could it not?
In a game that was theirs for the taking numerous times, they instead played the longest one in team history, and lost. The Reds were handed a 5-4 defeat by the Phillies in 19 innings in a game that lasted six hours, 11 minutes.
And for the first time in the Majors since Brent Mayne of the Rockies faced the Braves on Aug. 22, 2000, a position player was the winning pitcher. It was second baseman Wilson Valdez, who pitched a one-walk, but scoreless top of the 19th for Philadelphia against the heart of the Reds order.
"You put that much effort and time and everybody put everything they have in the game and lose, it's tough," said Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who had three RBIs and a homer in the top of the 10th that put his team up 4-3.
Ironically, the game time surpassed the Reds' record of five hours, 57 minutes set exactly three years earlier. The Reds endured an 18-inning loss at San Diego on May 25, 2008.
At 1:19 a.m. ET time with Reds reliever Carlos Fisher working his sixth inning of relief and throwing his 95th pitch, Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Jimmy Rollins to end it to the delight of those that remained from the attendance of 45,706 fans at the longest game in Citizens Bank Park history.
"That's a tough one to lose right there, especially the way Fish performed and the way he pitched tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Innings wise, it was tied for the second longest game in Reds history and the first 19-inning game the team played since Aug. 8, 1972 -- or before every player on the roster was born. There were a total of 600 pitches thrown by a combined 16 pitchers from both teams who faced 155 batters. The Reds stranded 17 runners on base while Philadelphia left 16.
Out of all the plays and all the moments earlier in the night -- and long after starters Travis Wood (three runs, six hits, six innings) and Roy Halladay (three runs, 11 hits, seven innings) exited -- a couple of big moments loomed extra large in the final outcome.
The Reds had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th via Bruce's leadoff home run against Antonio Bastardo. On for the save in the bottom half, closer Francisco Cordero left a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate to leadoff batter Ryan Howard. It was launched high into the night and landed in the center-field bullpen to tie the game and give Cordero his second blown save in 12 attempts.
"Coco has been throwing great," Baker said. "It was supposed to be away and it came back over the plate."
The Reds had a good chance to win the game in the 11th inning, before Brandon Phillips got picked off of second base while representing the go-ahead run. It was a bad mental mistake at a terrible time.
Phillips reached when he was hit by a Kyle Kendrick pitch. J.C. Romero, struggling with wildness, walked Joey Votto and was mired in a 3-0 count with Scott Rolen. Phillips took a lead far from second base and was seen talking to Rollins at shortstop. Romero spun and threw to second base for the pickoff. Rolen walked, as did Bruce, but the Reds came up empty when Hernandez grounded out to the pitcher.
"I just felt like I lost the game for the team," Phillips said. "I put my head down and said something to J-Ro and took a couple of steps off the bag, and they picked me off. I fell for the banana in the tailpipe, that's all I can really say.
"It's a tough loss. It's all my fault. I take the blame. I'm not afraid to admit my faults. It was a great game at the beginning. It's sad we had to go through all those innings at the end because of my baserunning mistake. I learned my lesson and there's another game tomorrow, actually today."
From innings 11 through 17, the Reds notched their only baserunner on Chris Heisey's two-out single in the 15th. There was some controversy in the Reds' 18th, when Ryan Hanigan appeared to beat out a single after a nice sliding stop by Rollins, who fired a throw to first base. After Hanigan was called out, Baker was screaming from the dugout, but it was of no use. Heisey followed with a walk, but the Reds could not score against Danys Baez. The Phillies rode Baez, the last reliever they had, for five scoreless innings and 73 pitches.
After Logan Ondrusek gave the Reds scoreless 12th and 13th innings, the Reds turned to Fisher. Although Matt Maloney and Sam LeCure were sitting in the bullpen, it turned out that Fisher was the last pitcher Baker had available.
"I couldn't use them," Baker explained. "LeCure pitched a couple of days ago [3 1/3 innings Sunday]. He was sore. He tried to warm up out there. He couldn't go. Maloney just pitched the day before yesterday [also 3 1/3 innings] so he wasn't available. We were short in the bullpen coming into the game."
In the bottom of the 18th, the Phillies finally blinked on the reliever stalemate and sent Dane Sardinha to pinch-hit for Baez. In the top of the 19th, Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel juggled his defense and moved Valdez from second base to the mound. Outside of some fun games at home in the Dominican, Valdez never pitched before.
It sure didn't look like it. Throwing fastballs from the windup as fans chanted his first name, Valdez got Votto to fly out to center field. Rolen was hit by a pitch before Bruce flied out and Fisher popped out.
Rollins led off the bottom of the 19th with a single to left field followed by a Domonic Brown walk. Placido Polanco sacrificed the runners to second and third. An intentional walk to Howard loaded the bases. With the infield and outfield shaded in, Ibanez skied a long sacrifice fly to end it.
"I was just trying to hit a ball hard and get the barrel of the bat on it," Ibanez said. "I was just trying to keep it in the air."
Had Ibanez been unsuccessful, the Reds were going to counter with their own infielder to pitch the 20th inning in shortstop Paul Janish.
"Our next move if we got through that inning was to use Janish much like they did," Baker said. "We'd put Sam in the outfield, move Heisey to second and Brandon to shortstop. But we didn't get that far."
Still, the Reds went far enough to make the loss sting that much more. They have lost seven of their last eight games and are 1-5 on this 10-game road trip. Sleep will be brief and time to ponder short. In only a few hours, they have to return to the ballpark for a 1:05 p.m. ET series finale.