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Diamondbacks History: The Longest Day(s)

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies
Cahill pitching in the bottom of the 18th
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As Throwback Thursdays return (after a hiatus of a very long time) here’s a look back at Diamondbacks history. This week, a look at the longest games in franchise history (by innings.) Also, a correction to the official team website is in order.

The Diamondbacks have a “Single-game records” section on their website. However, I cannot find any record on that page that was set more recently than 2011, indicating that it must not have been updated since some time around that date. Looking under the longest game section, and neither home nor away are correct; technically they are I suppose, as 16 and 18 innings, respectively, remains the record. However, both of those records were tied in 2013, a fact which apparently merits no mention on the website. (I find this fact strange, as the Diamondbacks won both of those games. So here is a breakdown of the longest games, home and away, in Diamondbacks history.

April 13, 1999: Four of the first eight games in 1999 went extra innings, including three of the first four. The eighth game was the longest, and set the record for the longest game by both innings and time at Chase Field; the record for innings has since been tied. Armando Reynoso tossed seven innings and left with a 4-1 lead, but the bullpen (some things never change) allowed the Dodgers to tie it up. After they tied the score at 4 in the top of the ninth, no one scored until Bobby Chouinard (only the sixth pitcher of the game for the Diamondbacks) gave up two runs in the top of the sixteenth. Kelly Stinnett tied the game again with a home run off Dave Mlicki, and Dante Powell drove in Tony Batista to give the Diamondbacks the 7-6 win. The teams combined to use 12 pitchers, which might have been a lot for the time, but now one team might use close to that many.

May 29, 2001: Armando Reynoso was the starting pitcher yet again, and he was coming back from injury and so was limited to 90 pitches, which gave the team six scoreless innings. But the Giants had Shawn Estes throwing scoreless innings on the other side. No one scored until Erubiel Durazo doubled in Steve Finley (off Ryan Vogelsong, the only participant in this game still playing) in the top of the 18th. Miguel Batista got the win and Greg Swindell the save. Barry Bonds went 0-for-5, but was walked intentionally three times.

August 15, 2006: The game was at Coors Field. Miguel Batista and Jason Jennings were the starting pitchers. In all, fifteen pitchers were used. From that description, this could have been a nine inning game. There could have been twenty runs scored. Nope. There were a total of three runs scored in eighteen innings, and exactly zero home runs. I don’t know how many extra innings games at Coors have had no home runs hit, but this has to be one of the few. The Diamondbacks scored first on an Eric Byrnes single. The Rockies scored their only run on a double play in the fifth. And that was it, until Luis Gonzalez picked up his first hit in eight tries, singling home Byrnes in the 18th. Despite a leadoff walk to Todd Helton in the bottom half, the D-backs held on.

June 7, 2009: I will admit to having no knowledge of this game. The others on this list I at least knew existed, but I can’t say the same for this one. Behind a strong outing from Dan Haren, the Diamondbacks led 6-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth. J.C. Gutierrez and Chad Qualls fixed that, the big blow a three run home run by David Eckstein off of Qualls. Heath Bell then took the mound for the Padres, but didn’t allow a run. In fact, no one would score until Josh Wilson took the mound in the 18th. Wilson had thrown a scoreless inning for the Diamondbacks earlier that year (this may be the only instance of a position player pitching for two different teams in the same season) but he wasn’t so lucky this time, as Mark Reynolds hit a three-run blast with two outs, making it 9-6, and so the Diamondbacks won. Even with this outing, Wilson has four appearances (for four different teams) and an ERA of 9.00. He also appeared in three games for Gwinnett in 2012.

April 3, 2013: We should have known how 2013 would go from how the third game of the year went. No other season has produced more than one game of 16+ innings. 2013 produced three. The first one featured a roller-coaster of a win probability chart, with the Cardinals at one time leading 4-1, and then, after trailing 5-4, pulling ahead 7-5. The Diamondbacks managed to make it 8-8 in the eighth, but the Cardinals would take the lead again in Josh Collmenter’s first inning of work, the twelfth. Martin Prado drove in Cliff Pennington to tie it. Then Pennington himself would single in Jason Kubel for the walk-off victory in the sixteenth. I believe this is the longest game by time in Chase Field history.

August 18, 2013: Wade Miley got the start in PNC Park, and gave up single runs in the first and the third. The Diamondbacks tied it up in the sixth, with the tying run scoring on a double play. Josh Collmenter, who was getting quite a bit of work about then, only worked two innings, and Brad Ziegler came on in the 14th. He worked two perfect innings, and then (feel free to shed tears over what might have been) Adam Eaton doubled home A.J. Pollock and Didi Gregorius in the top of the sixteenth. J.J. Putz picked up the save.

August 24, 2013: The game that inspired this post. The Diamondbacks had played games off 11 and 14 innings before leaving on the road trip, and had played 16 in Pittsburgh one paragraph earlier. Three years ago this week, they tied for the longest game in franchise history, thanks to two men: Joe Thatcher and Heath Bell.

Ethan Martin got the start for the Phillies and failed to get out of the first inning. Randall Delgado had a quality start as the Diamondbacks built a 6-0 lead before the Phillies got on the board. He left after six, with the Diamondbacks ahead 7-3. Will Harris pitched a scoreless seventh. Joe Thatcher allowed a walk, single, and sacrifice fly. Heath Bell allowed a single and a home run. Yet again the bullpen came close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (see, it’s not just this year!)

Then both teams decided it was time to strand runners. The Phillies left the bases full in the ninth and left two on in the eleventh, with Chaz Roe striking out Erik Kratz to end the latter threat. The Diamondbacks left the bases full in the twelfth and two on in the thirteenth. Cliff Pennington was intentionally walked to get to someone other than the pitcher. The Phillies left the bases full in the thirteenth and two on in the fourteenth. Finally, in an attempt to wave the white flag, Kirk Gibson called on Trevor Cahill. He gave up two hits in four scoreless innings.

Remember how the Phillies only got two outs from their starter? That finally came back to bite them in the eighteenth inning, as Casper Wells was called in from right field to pitch. He quickly retired Cliff Pennington and Tuffy Gosewisch, though. However, a walk to Tony Campana turned things around, and he would give up three hits and two more walks before being replaced by John McDonald. Trevor Cahill (of the .103 lifetime average) would single to drive in the fifth run of the inning, and pick up his fifth win of the season.

May 31, 2015: Finally, a loss. I was slated to recap this one, but had a seven hour drive. The game started before I left and ended just before I got home. The key play of the game was in the first inning, as, after Paul Goldschmidt opened the scoring with a home run off Tyler Wagner, David Peralta tried to beat the shift with a bunt and instead had the ball hit his fingers. Ender Inciarte came in to replace him. How key was that? At first it appeared to be fine, as the Diamondbacks built a 4-0 lead. But they couldn’t hold it, and after Mark Trumbo tied everything up leading off the eighth, Paul Goldschmidt would be walked four times ahead of Inciarte, who had a dreadful day at the plate and couldn’t capitalize. But Inciarte wasn’t the only culprit. The Diamondbacks left 12 on base from the ninth inning on, and there were only two perfect innings, both with pitcher Vidal Nuno hitting. After Martin Maldonado hit a walk-off home run, the Diamondbacks had lost their first game in franchise history lasting 16 innings or longer.

Amazingly, in games of 15 or more innings, the Diamondbacks are 13-2. That’s one of those interesting statistical oddities that has no bearing on anything, but it is a nice bit of trivia.