Let's play 2 1/2 - Rockies-Padres marathon goes 22 innings

It started with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy throwing the first pitch just before sunset and ended right around last call.

In between, the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres played baseball for 6 hours, 16 minutes. There was a seventh-inning stretch, a 14th-inning stretch and finally, a 21st-inning stretch.

So forgive Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba and San Diego's Josh Bard if their knees are a little sore &

they caught all 22 innings.

Torrealba wearily pumped a fist in celebration at 1:21 a.m. Friday after Kip Wells finally secured the Rockies' 2-1 victory by getting Padres pitcher Glendon Rusch to take a called third strike on the game's 659th pitch. San Diego's spacious Petco Park simply didn't surrender much offense on a pleasant spring night &

and early morning.

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks would have loved this one, since he always used to say, "Let's play two!" But even he might have worn down a bit, since this was roughly the equivalent of 21/2 games.

It was the longest game in the majors since Aug. 31, 1993, when Minnesota beat Cleveland 5-4 in 22 innings; the longest in Rockies history and in the 5-year history of Petco Park; and the longest by innings for the Padres.

It was one minute short of matching San Diego's longest by time.

"That was an incredible baseball game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It will go down as one that everybody who was here, will never forget it."

How could they &

it ranks among the 17 longest games in big league history, by inning. The longest ever was 26 innings, a 1-1 tie between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves on May 1, 1920, at Boston. That game, by the way, took only — hours, 50 minutes.

There's something about these two teams and extra innings. On Oct 1, Colorado rallied past the Padres for a 9-8 win in 13 innings in the wild-card tiebreaker game at Coors Field.

That game was epic.

This one was ponderous, with no scoring until the 14th and the Rockies winning it with an unearned run.

"It's definitely better to win in a 22-inning game than lose, I'll tell you that," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who delivered the go-ahead hit.

There were tired legs and sore arms all around by the time Tulowitzki's RBI double with two outs in the 22nd scored in Willy Taveras. Taveras set a Rockies record for at-bats in going 3-for-10, and scored both of their runs. He was aided in the 22nd on errors by shortstop Khalil Greene and Bard.

Then, both teams had planes to catch &

the Rockies to Houston and the Padres to Phoenix.

There's no curfew in the NL, but there is an 11:30 p.m. curfew for takeoffs at Lindbergh Field because of residential neighborhoods just west of the runway.

The teams' charter flights took off sometime around — a.m., said Sharie Shipley of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The charter companies will "definitely" have to go before the curfew violation review panel and face possible fines, she said.

The Rockies arrived in Houston at about 8:30 a.m. CDT and got caught in morning rush hour on the drive to their hotel.

Reliever Taylor Buchholz said it reminded him of arriving in Philadelphia for the playoffs the morning after beating the Padres in the 13-inning game.

"It was kind of that same feeling, when you're landing and the sun's coming up and you're hitting rush-hour traffic. It's all too familiar, I guess," said Buchholz, who pitched the ninth and 10th innings in San Diego.

The Padres got to their hotel about 4 a.m. When the clubhouse opened at 3:10 p.m., four players were lounging on a couch watching "Scarface." A few others sat in their locker stalls.

"I know one thing &

you go 22 innings and give up one earned run, you should win," said Bard, who got Friday night off.

Some Padres players amused themselves in the 18th by taping up the head of a stuffed ram and placing it on the front bench in the dugout. After the 18th, shortly after midnight, the sprinklers came on in the Park at the Park, a grassy knoll beyond the bleachers in right-center.

Padres pitcher Greg Maddux had his glove on in the dugout in the 22nd. It was wishful thinking, because the 42-year-old he was scheduled to start Friday night at Arizona.

The stadium's cleanup crew sat listlessly in the far upper deck as the game dragged on, some appearing to be asleep.

Peavy said he'd finished icing his arm and came back down to the dugout at Trevor Hoffman's urging to help cheer on his teammates.

"Rally dips. Rally shades. We put some sunglasses on at times. We turned our hats inside out. We did a little bit of everything," Peavy said.

"I wanted it to keep going. Once we got to 17, 18, I'm like, 'What if this just keeps going?' I mean, we're playing 20 innings. The PA announcer kept getting me, because the PA announcer was going, 'Leading off the Padres' 19th...'

"I'll tell you, it was a lot of fun. Obviously, we wanted to win the game," Peavy said.

At one point, it seemed as if every remaining fan was going to get a foul ball. In the 14th inning, a man in the second deck caught a foul ball and yelled, "That's it, I'm going home!" as other fans cheered. He stayed until the end.

Only a fraction of the crowd of 25,984 was around to see the final out.

With alcohol sales cut off at the end of the seventh, the big sellers at the concession stands in the final innings were ice cream and coffee, Padres president Richard Andersen said.

Three Rockies pitchers retired 23 straight Padres batters from the second to the 10th inning.

As good as starters Peavy and Jeff Francis were, Wil Ledezma threw five terrific innings for the Padres and Wells was solid for four. The teams used a combined 15 pitchers.

Padres pitchers tied a team record with 20 strikeouts and their Rockies counterparts set a team record with 17 punchouts. Colorado stranded 16 runners and San Diego 14.

Had the game plodded on, Wells probably would have pitched one more inning, then take up a position and be replaced by infielder Clint Barmes.

"That would've been interesting," manager Clint Hurdle said. "That would've been another thing that I've never been a part of. That would've been the first move I ever made where no one second-guessed me."

Hurdle tried to put in perspective, telling his players that a lot of people go through a lot worse in life than playing ball all night.

"They had a good ballgame. It just happened to be 22 innings long and six hours," Hurdle said. "They had a good plane ride. They just happened to do it from 2 till 7. You take a nap and you go play. We're going to do the best we can."

San Diego's Tony Clark had eight at-bats all season, then went 1-for-8 in his first start at first base.

"It's crazy how it works," said Clark, who lives in suburban Glendale, Ariz., and arrived home around 5 a.m. He got to give his kids a quick hug and kiss before they went to school.

"You look back on it, obviously, you wish you would have came out ahead," Clark said. "But it's just one of those games you're never going to forget."


AP Sports Writers Chris Duncan in Houston and Andrew Bagnato in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Share This Story