Ludwick lifts Reds over Pirates 4-3 in 14 innings

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 1:02 am •  Published: September 11, 2012
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Ludwick's simple grounder ended the Reds' longest game of the season. No such reprieve for the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose misery goes on.

Ludwick drove in the winning run with a two-out infield single in the 14th inning, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a marathon 4-3 victory Monday night that handed the fading Pirates their fourth straight loss.

Rick VandenHurk (0-1), called up before the game, started the 14th and gave up a single by Devin Mesoraco. Brandon Phillips reached when the Pirates failed to get a forceout on his grounder, and the runners advanced on a wild pitch.

Pirates shortstop Chase d'Arnaud couldn't come up with Ludwick's grounder in the hole, finally ending it.

"I stunk the entire game," said Ludwick, who was 0 for 5 before the final at-bat. "I must've had a thousand chances to win the game, and I finally did it on the thousandth chance. Every time I came up, it seemed like there were guys on base. I'm glad I finally got it done in ... what inning was it? The 14th?"

Yes, the 14th. And there was plenty of drama in both halves of it.

The Pirates loaded the bases with none out in the top of the 14th against Alfredo Simon (2-2) and failed to score — Jose Tabata grounded out to end the threat. The organist played "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" again between innings.

It was the Reds' longest game of the season in innings and time — 5 hours, 22 minutes. The Pirates played a 19-inning, 6-hour game against St. Louis last month.

"That was a game we needed big-time," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We were spent, emotionally and physically."

Imagine what the Pirates felt!

Their slump — four straight losses and 21 in the last 30 games — has dropped them a season-high 12 games behind the first-place Reds in the NL Central.

"Well, you know, I've heard that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're fighting through this thing. This has been a big push for us. It's been a hard time for a while."

Sam LeCure bailed out Reds closer Aroldis Chapman to keep it tied in the 10th, retiring Michael McKenry on a grounder with the bases loaded. LeCure struck out the side in the 11th.

Chapman had trouble getting his fastball up to speed in his first appearance since Friday, when he had his club-record streak of 27 straight saves snapped. Chapman walked the bases loaded around a pair of outs, his fastball topping out at 96 mph.

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