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19 innings later, D-backs have record-setting win

Vargas forces extras with HR in 9th, then delivers walk-off hit
@SteveGilbertMLB
September 25, 2019

PHOENIX -- The game started Tuesday night and didn’t end until 1:35 a.m. MST on Wednesday at Chase Field. In between the first pitch and Ildemaro Vargas' walk-off single that gave the D-backs a 3-2 win over the Cardinals, there were many incredible moments, highlight plays and records set. •

PHOENIX -- The game started Tuesday night and didn’t end until 1:35 a.m. MST on Wednesday at Chase Field.

In between the first pitch and Ildemaro Vargas' walk-off single that gave the D-backs a 3-2 win over the Cardinals, there were many incredible moments, highlight plays and records set.

Box score

Here are a few:

Better be ready
Vargas was not in the D-backs' starting lineup, and he didn’t get into the game until he pinch-hit in the ninth and smacked a one-out homer to left field off left-hander Andrew Miller to tie the game at 1.

Then, in the 19th, with two outs and runners on first and second, the Cardinals intentionally walked Christian Walker to get to Vargas, who delivered a bases-loaded single to left off right-hander John Brebbia to win it and complete a 4-for-6 night.

“I was so excited, just pumped up,” Vargas said of the game-winning hit. “Before that at-bat, I knew that in the previous at-bats I had been trying to do too much, so I focused on just looking for the fastball and trying to hit the ball the other way. That was my whole focus in that at-bat.”

Speaking of Vargas
The D-backs were out of relievers, as well as bench players, so if the game had gone to the 20th inning, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo planned on putting starting pitcher Robbie Ray in left, moving left fielder Josh Rojas to second base and using Vargas to pitch.

“I actually never pitched at the Major League or Minor League level,” Vargas said. “But I’m ready for whatever the team asked of me.”

No quit
The Cardinals were on the verge of winning the game twice. They held a 1-0 lead in the ninth before Vargas' homer, and they led, 2-1, after former D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt homered in the 13th.

The D-backs again found a way to rally, as Nick Ahmed tripled to lead off the bottom of the 13th and later scored on a pinch-hit single by Caleb Joseph.

“We don’t expect them to roll over,” Miller said of the D-backs. “They’ve been a good team all year. I know they’re not reaching their goal of making the playoffs, but they’re a good team. I know Torey from my time in Boston, and he’s not going to let them do that. You want to play teams that care and are fighting and giving it everything they got. Certainly, that’s what they did.”

Cheerleading
At one point as the extra innings dragged on and the crowd thinned, the Cardinals' bench got loud, cheering on every pitch. The D-backs soon followed suit.

“I think everybody was delirious at a certain point,” Lovullo said. “About the 12th or 13th inning, we just started to get into another zone. I think it added energy to what was going on.”

Said Vargas, “I don’t know if you guys noticed, but we were having a little friendly competition between the dugouts, and it was actually something that helped us keep the energy up. It was fun, and we loved it.”

Highlight reel
In the 19th, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong hit a deep drive to left that Rojas caught as he slammed into the metal fence by the D-backs' bullpen.

“The catch Rojas made banging into that hard wall out there, just incredible,” Ahmed said. “The guy's putting it all out there, that’s what we’re going to do until the end.”

Records
• The 19 innings were the most in D-backs history.

• The six-hour, 53-minute time of game was the longest at Chase Field and the second longest in franchise history.

• Cardinals pitchers struck out 23 batters, while Arizona pitchers fanned 25. It was only the second time in Major League history that two teams each recorded 21 or more strikeouts in a game.

• The 48 combined strikeouts tied the Major League record. The Cubs and Yankees also combined to fan 48 on May 7, 2017, which was also the only other time two teams each recorded 21 or more strikeouts in a game.

• Vargas was the first player since the RBI became official in 1920 to drive in a game-tying run in the ninth inning and then record a walk-off RBI in the 19th inning or later of the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

• The D-backs used a club-record 30 players in the game.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.