Var­gas hits game-win­ner in 19th, D-backs top Cards 3-2

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - As­so­ci­ated Press

PHOENIX — Ari­zona had am­ple rea­sons to be a bea­t­en­down ball­club one day after be­ing of­fi­cially elim­i­nated from the Na­tional League play­off race.

In­stead, the Di­a­mond­backs pow­ered through 19 in­nings of base­ball, used 13 pitch­ers and earned an un­likely 3-2 win over the St. Louis Car­di­nals in a game that lasted nearly seven hours.

Ilde­maro Var­gas had a game-ty­ing, pinch-hit homer in the ninth in­ning on

Tues­day and then sin­gled with the bases loaded in the 19th at 1:34 a.m. lo­cal time on Wed­nes­day, send­ing Ari­zona’s play­ers stream­ing from the dugout in cel­e­bra­tion.

“We just didn’t shut down,” Ari­zona man­ager Torey Lovullo said. “We had plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to feel sorry for our­selves and we didn’t. We scratched to­gether some runs at the right time.”

Car­son Kelly and Nick Ahmed started the fi­nal rally with back-to-back sin­gles off John Breb­bia (3-4), who was the Car­di­nals’ 11th pitcher of the night. Jar­rod Dyson and Rob­bie Ray — a pitcher who had to pinch hit — struck out be­fore Chris­tian Walker was in­ten­tion­ally walked to load the bases.

Then it was Var­gas’ turn to be the hero again, smack­ing a sin­gle — his fourth hit of the game — through the left side of the in­field. He raised his hands as play­ers rushed the field.

“I was so ex­cited, just pumped up,” Var­gas said through an in­ter­preter.

If Var­gas hadn’t come through with the gamewin­ning hit, he was go­ing to be on the mound in the 20th in­ning be­cause the D-backs were out of avail­able pitch­ers.

“We didn’t have much to go on — that was it,” Lovullo said. “Luck­ily, we didn’t have to find out how that looked.”

The game last 6 hours and 53 min­utes and fea­tured 24 pitch­ers and 48 strike­outs, with both teams plow­ing through bullpen arms thanks to Septem­ber’s ex­panded ros­ters. The Di­a­mond­backs used a fran­chise-record 30 play­ers.

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