Phillies beat Reds in 19 as infielder Wilson Valdez earns victory

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Wilson Valdez threw a hitless 19th inning and became the first position player since Colorado’s Brent Mayne in 2000 to record a victory as the Phillies beat the Reds 5-4 in 19 innings Wednesday.

The game was the longest in the majors since the Mets edged the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010.

The game was tied 3-3 after nine.  Jay Bruce homered in the top of the 10th, but Ryan Howard came back with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning, denying Francisco Cordero his 300th career save.

Vadez played 18 innings at second base and went 3-for-6 before moving to the mound.   The contest also featured Carlos Ruiz’s second career appearance at third base and two very long relief appearances.

Valdez took over after Danys Baez, the last man in the Philadelphia pen, pitched five scoreless innings.  Reds reliever Carlos Fisher matched Baez, throwing five scoreless innings of his own before giving up a run in his sixth inning of work.  Fisher ended up throwing a whopping 95 pitches in relief.

Working the top of the 19th, Valdez gave up a long shot to center to Joey Votto to begin the inning, but it was hauled in by Manny Martinez.  He then hit Scott Rolen with a pitch before Jay Bruce flied out and Fisher popped out.

The game ended with Raul Ibanez’s sac fly with one out in the bottom of the 19th.

No one had pulled off Valdez’s feat in 11 years.  Mayne was the last to do it, pitching a scoreless 12th inning as the Rockies beat the Braves 7-6 on Aug. 22, 2000.  Rockies manager Buddy Bell managed to run through nine pitchers in 11 innings in that one.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.