It was supposed to be a game between a good pitcher and a great pitcher, a game that might be done in just over two hours. Six hours and 11 minutes later, we were treated to one of the wildest, most unpredictable games in recent memory.
It looked innocent enough, with Roy Halladay having a three-run lead after two innings. Any baseball fan would assume that they could turn off the TV because this game is over!
But Halladay, who last faced the Reds during the postseason when he pitched a no-hitter, gave up 3 runs and 11 hits. Who knew that was the start of the wackiness?
The Phillies had men on second and third with one out in the ninth and Charlie Manuel decided to pull Ben Francisco, who had already homered in the game for Domonic Brown, who promptly popped out.
Polanco then hit a sharp ground ball to short to end the threat. When Jay Bruce hit a home run in the 10th, it looked like it was going to be another game that the Phillies offense went cold and that they would lose. Who knew we still had nine more innings of baseball to go?
Ryan Howard proceeded to homer in the bottom of the 10th and JC Romero picked off Brandon Phillips from second base in the 11th. This is a 11th inning where the Reds had 4 people on base yet didn't get any runs across.
Danys Baez proceeds to pitch five innings of shutout ball which is a far cry from the guy in early April that Charlie Manuel seemed to be so reluctant to call on to come to the mound.
And Jimmy Rollins made three amazing plays at shortstop in the 17th and 18th innings to keep the game scoreless. But the best was yet to come.
Wilson Valdez, a journeyman infielder, who has never pitched in a professional baseball game, headed to the mound to pitch the 19th inning. The only thing more shocking then to see him on the mound was to see his first pitch clock in at 88 miles per hour!
He retired Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and the Reds pitcher, Carlos Fisher. Who would think you'd see Wilson Valdez pitching to Carlos Fisher when the night started?
Finally, Raul Ibanez hit a walk-off sacrifice fly that brought Jimmy Rollins home in the bottom of the 19th inning to give Wilson Valdez his first (and most likely last) big league win.
One of my fondest memories as a kid was watching the Phillies-Padres game on July 4, 1993, that went 20 innings and ended at 4:40 a.m. I knew that then that that 1993 season was going to be something special.
Watching this 19-inning game, seeing the Phillies battle to get the win, gave me the same type of feeling. Let's hope this time around, we don't see Joe Carter in the World Series.