Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in 19-Inning Marathon

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 31: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is greeted by (L-R) Travis Snider #23, Garrett Jones #46 and Pedro Alvarez #24 after hitting a grand slam home run in the 1st inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 31, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Pedro Alvarez's solo shot off Barret Browning in the top of the 19th inning gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 4-3 lead against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Andrew McCutchen added two more runs on a bases-loaded single to earn the Pirates a crucial 6-3 Sunday-night victory.

Yes, you read that right. This game spanned over six hours, 16 pitchers and 28 different batters.

Wandy Rodriguez was supposed to pitch in San Diego for the Pirates on Monday. Instead he earned the victory in the 19th inning—his first victory as a reliever.

Carlos Beltran started the night's scoring off with a two-run double in the fourth, scoring Allen Craig and Matt Holliday on the play.

The Pirates didn't respond until the sixth inning when utility man Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly with runners on second and third. The lazy fly scored Clint Barmes and allowed Andrew McCutchen's infield base hit to score pitcher Jeff Karstens in the next at-bat.

After that, we didn't see any scoring until the 17th inning. The Pirates took the lead in the top half of the inning with Garrett Jones' infield single that scored pitcher James McDonald from third base, but the Cards didn't go away.

Backup catcher Tony Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom half of the 17th to score pinch-runner Ryan Jackson. 

This game's outcome has severe implications. Not only does it impact the National League playoff race, but it's a detriment to St. Louis' morale. 

The Cardinals are now two games behind Pittsburgh for second place in the NL Central, and they fall another game back in the wild-card standings. Meanwhile, the Pirates keep pace with the Braves atop the NL wild-card standings and tread water in the division.

No one wants to lose a game like this. You fight for 19 innings, and then it's all taken away with one beautiful swing. This is the type of game that impacts the remainder of the season for both teams in two completely different ways.

It's not every day that you get to see a marathon game like this—not to be soon forgotten by fans and players alike.