Rockies fall to D-Backs in 18th

Rockies fall to D-Backs in 18th

DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Cory Sullivan was on the Coors Field surface long enough on Tuesday night to enjoy matching a career high with four hits, and experience the mood swings in a game chock full of missed chances.

And the longest game in Rockies history -- 18 innings, taking 5 hours, 21 minutes, all to lose to the Diamondbacks, 2-1 -- even gave him time to dig deep into his ample vocabulary.

"Your mental acuity can only hold on so long," said Sullivan, who went 4-for-8, matching a career high in hits, but not being able to put his words to use after a victory. "We played a great game. Everybody battled. Unfortunately, somebody had to score, and unfortunately, it wasn't us."

At least Sullivan didn't tax his mind counting the runs. As if to further render Coors Field's high-scoring reputation to the history books, the teams had more combined strikeouts (28, split) than hits (25, 13 by the Rockies). The game dwarfed previous Rockies records of 15 innings and 4 hours, 51 minutes.

It took awhile, but the result was the teams have split the first two of a four-game set. The Rockies fell to 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the National League West and three back in the Wild Card standings. The D-Backs moved into a second-place tie with the Padres, 3 1/2 games out of first and a game out of the Wild Card.

The two teams combined to use 41 players, and could have used a clutch hitter or two. Arizona and Colorado went a combined 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position.

"Not in my wildest dreams," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said when asked if he thought such a game ever could occur at Coors. "Not until now, because I lived it. We saw it. We were a part of it. It was just exceptional pitching on both sides, and some missed opportunities on both sides.

"Unfortunately, they were able to execute a bunt in the 18th and we were unable to execute it a few times before that."

Luis Gonzalez's RBI single off Ramon Ramirez (3-3) in the top of the 18th, after Eric Byrnes singled and went to second on Orlando Hudson's bunt, was the difference. Gonzalez was 1-for-8. But as Byrnes, who drove in a run in the fifth, noted, "It's the greatest 1-for-8 he's ever had."

The Rockies played for one run several times and didn't get it. Clint Barmes, who had doubled twice, bunted in the ninth after Yorvit Torrealba walked, but Colorado's Luis Gonzalez grounded out and Jamey Carroll -- who took an 0-for-8 -- fouled out. Pitcher Josh Fogg, pinch-hitting in the 11th, couldn't bunt successfully.

Of Carroll's night, Hurdle said, "You take a shower, go on home and get ready to play tomorrow. If you're going to take an 0-for-8, there's nowhere like the big leagues to take one. It's a lot tougher taking it in A-ball, or in Chattanooga, or in Triple-A."

It was same as it ever was for the Rockies, who continue to do the least with the strong pitching of right-handed starter Jason Jennings, who yielded but one run and five hits in eight innings. It was the 10th time this season he has received not more than one run in a start.

Jennings has a 2.35 ERA since July 1, yet is 1-3 in those nine starts. His ERA is 0.92 in his last five starts at Coors Field, but he's just 2-1.

"It was a crazy night," Jennings said. "Three runs scored in 18 innings is pretty impressive pitching. Tip your hat to their guys."

Other than feeling good about the way he changed speeds and took care of what he could control, the best part of Jennings' night was he was able to ice his arm, shower and watch the Cubs beat the Astros in 18 on the tube -- when he wasn't watching the Rockies battle just as long.

"I was kind of checking out their game and our game at the same time," Jennings said. "It was a crazy night to have two games go that long."

Rockies relievers Brian Fuentes, Jeremy Affeldt, Manny Corpas, Ray King, Tom Martin and Ramirez, who struck out three in two innings, combined for nine scoreless innings before Ramirez gave up the run in the 18th -- his fourth inning. He fanned five and gave up two hits.

Diamondbacks starter Miguel Batista gave up one run on seven hits in six innings. He was followed by Luis Vizcaino, Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz, Jose Valverde, Tony Pena, Jorge Julio and Brandon Medders (5-2), who overcame a leadoff walk to Todd Helton in the 18th with two fly balls and a strikeout of Ryan Spilborghs.

"After the ninth inning, everybody gets a little anxious to hit the big one, myself included," said Sullivan, whose 12th-inning single was one of three Rockies hits in extra frames.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.