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Phillies Nip Reds in 19 Innings on Ibanez’s Sacrifice RBI

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Ben Francisco   John Mayberry Jr.  Wilson Valdez  Ryan Howard  Raul Ibanez
The Phillies ran out to a 3-0 lead on rightfielder Ben Francisco’s first inning 2 run homer and centerfielder John Mayberry Jr’s second inning RBI single — all off of Cincinnati’s young lefthanded starter Travis Wood.   In most games, a 3-0 lead with Halladay pitching means “take the win to the bank.”  However, in this marathon nineteen inning job, Cincinnati crept back against Halladay to tie the game on 1st baseman Joey Votto’s fifth inning RBI single and rightfielder Jay Bruce’s seventh inning game tying 2 run single.  The game went into extra innings knotted at 3-3, but Bruce and 1st baseman Ryan Howard traded tenth inning solo homers to keep the game knotted, now at 4-4.    Both teams ate through their entire bullpens such that Phils’ 2nd baseman Wilson Valdez, who played eighteen innings at 2nd base, came on to pitch the nineteenth inning and went clean on the Reds and was credited with his 1st MLB win.   Then Carlos Fisher, the 7th Reds pitcher, gave up a leadoff single to shortstop Jimmy Rollins and then walked the bases loaded with 1 out.    Leftfielder Raul Ibanez then faced Fisher taking a strike looking before lofting a sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in the winning run.  The Phillies nipped the Reds by 5-4 in 19 innings on Ibanez’s sacrifice RBI to win the 3rd of the 4 game series.

With the win, the Phils remained 1 1/2 games up in the NL East on the 2nd place Florida Marlins who won their own twelve inning knot job over the San Francisco Giants.   3rd place Atlanta won their game and remained 3 games behind the front-running Phils.

After jumping out to that 3-0 lead after two innings and Halladay nursing the lead into the fifth, one would figure; game over!  But Halladay was giving up a lot of hits — 7 through 4 1/3 innings.   He gave up 11 hits and 3 runs in all through seven innings while throwing 123 pitches.

Opposing pitcher Wood gave up 3 runs on 6 hits through six innings while throwing 102 pitches.  With the 2 starters out of the picture, the parade of pitchers on both sides, and parade of innings and zeros began.

Still tied in the tenth inning, Bruce led off the inning with a dinger off of Antonio Bastardo, the Phils’ 4th pitcher — who followed Ryan Madson, and who got through 2/3rds of the inning.

Closer Francisco Cordero, Cincy’s 5 pitcher, entered in the Phils’ half of the tenth to try to finish off them off, but was greeted by Howard’s lead off game-tying shot.   From there, the game of zeros continued until the Phillies’ nineteenth.

The AP game recap for Yahoo sports describes the next nine innings and the parade of extra-inning zeros:

Phillies reliever Danys Baez threw 73 pitches and tossed one-hit ball over five scoreless innings.

“My arm feels good now,” Baez said. “I don’t know about tomorrow.”

Today is tomorrow.

“Well, in six hours.”

Fisher, the Reds’ seventh pitcher, worked 5 2-3 innings and gave up one run and four hits. The Phillies used 21 players overall, the Reds used 20.

Fisher finally wore down when Jimmy Rollins singled to open the 19th, Domonic Brown walked and Placido Polanco sacrificed. Thousands of fans derisively chanted “Fisher! Fisher!” before he intentionally Howard to load the bases. Ibanez was 1 for 8 during the night when he hit a fly to deep center to win it.

“The fans were great to get on him like that,” Howard said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The Reds used seven pitchers and the Phillies nine. The Reds had 15 hits; Philadelphia 13.

Some of the boxscore numbers were rough. Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was 0 for 7 and Phillies infielder Placido Polanco was 1 for 8.

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 Valdez shifted from second to the mound.

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

He hit 90 mph on a fastball to… Votto. He shook off catcher Dane Sardinha. And he showed no fear.

“If he hits a home run, they’re not going to say anything to me,” said Valdez, laughing.

Not bad for a journeyman infielder making his first professional appearance on the mound.

…Ryan Howard put his mitt over his face to hide his smile when Valdez shook off his catcher.

“I was like, ‘What is he going to throw? What does he have?”’ Howard said. “It was funny, but he got it done.”

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.

Valdez wound up as the winning pitcher early Thursday.

For all of Wednesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

Meanwhile, there is no rest for the weary as Wednesday’s game ended at 1:19 a.m. after 6 hours, 11 minutes and Thursday’s get-away game begins at 1:05 PM with lefthander Cliff Lee being opposed by Homer Bailey.

For all of Thursday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

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