After 16 innings that took 5 hours, 49 minutes to play, featuring 489 pitches by 19 pitchers who stranded a combined 35 baserunners, the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers finally got to celebrate.
AJ Pollock led off the 16th with a two-run homer and the Dodgers outlasted the struggling San Diego Padres 5-3 early Thursday in by far the longest major league game since pandemic rules were implemented last year.
No game had gone longer than 13 innings since MLB began putting an automatic runner on second base to start extra innings during the shortened 2020 season.
This one started Wednesday night and ended at 12:59 a.m. Thursday.
“You can listen to the excitement, elation after the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “A lot of high-fives, maybe a couple of beer showers, guys really just on adrenaline. Just finding a way to win a ballgame. It should count as two but unfortunately it doesn’t.”
Pollock’s 16th homer came off rookie reliever Daniel Camarena (0-1), the ninth Padres pitcher. The Dodgers used 10, including winner Corey Knebel (4-0) and Shane Greene, who worked the 16th for his first save.
Greene was the 47th player of 52 on the two active rosters to appear in the game.
Pollock also had a big game in a 5-2 win in the series opener Tuesday night, robbing Manny Machado of a two-run homer and hitting a two-run single.
The free runner on second rule was adopted to quicken the completion of long games during the coronavirus pandemic. But it took seven extra innings to decide this one, which included a 14th-inning stretch.
Pinch-hitter Billy McKinney and Trea Turner gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead with consecutive RBI singles in the 15th.
Fernando Tatis Jr. tied it with a two-run homer to right field off Knebel in the bottom half, his NL-leading 35th.
Tatis’ home run was just the fourth hit for the Padres and their first since the fifth inning.
The Dodgers won for the 11th time in 12 games. The Padres, who wasted a brilliant start by Blake Snell, have lost three straight and 11 of 13.
The Dodgers went 5 for 27 with runners in scoring position and the Padres 2 for 24. Los Angeles stranded 17 baserunners and the Padres 18.
There were 11 intentional walks, eight by the Dodgers — most by a big league team since 1955.
“There’s just so much to unpack, but to come away with the win was huge,” Roberts said. “All the players we used, managing the intentional walks, it was a crazy game but a lot of good things happened.”
Snell and Dodgers ace Walker Buehler were both outstanding but were long gone by the time the game ended.
The Padres ran out of position players in extra innings and had to have pitchers Ryan Weathers and Joe Musgrove pinch-hit. Musgrove struck out with the bases loaded to end the 11th and Weathers hit into a force to end the 13th. Each time, Roberts had Machado and Jake Cronenworth intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs.
The Padres got into trouble because manager Jayce Tingler didn’t double-switch with rookie infielder Kim Ha-seong after using him as a pinch-runner to start the 10th.
“We just went as is. We were obviously trying to score runs and obviously keep them off the board, and ultimately that’s what we did,” Tingler said.
Each team had chances to win it earlier in extras.
The Dodgers had two runners thrown out in rundowns between third and home, Max Muncy in the 12th and Will Smith in the 13th. San Diego’s Austin Adams got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 12th when Smith flied out to center.
The Padres got a runner to third base with one out in the 10th but couldn’t bring him in.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to keep the score tied at 1 and send it into extras after fanning Austin Nola for his 1,000th career strikeout.
Snell kept the Dodgers in check until Smith homered to left-center on the lefty’s 116th pitch to tie the game at 1 with one out in the eighth. After notching his 10th strikeout, against Cody Bellinger, Snell got the hook from Tingler. Daniel Hudson came on and struck out pinch-hitter Albert Pujols.
Snell threw a career-high 122 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. He retired the first 11 batters before Justin Turner singled. The lefty allowed three hits and walked none. It was his first outing without issuing a walk since the fateful Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, when Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash pulled him with a 1-0 lead against the Dodgers. Los Angeles rallied to win the game and the Series.
Snell’s terrific start came two days after the Padres fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Snell, obtained in a trade with Tampa Bay just after Christmas, has been up and down all season.
Buehler also pitched brilliantly, allowing an unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking one. He was pulled after issuing the game’s first walk, to Wil Myers with two outs in the seventh, and replaced by Joe Kelly, who came off the injured list before the game.
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