SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Erik Kratz wasnt tired after catching 18 innings. The 38-year-old San Francisco Giants backup had done it once before in his career, in 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
San Franciscos bullpen was just as sturdy on a night when manager Bruce Bochy used every reliever.
“You dont prepare to play 18 innings, but its just like anything else, you take it one pitch at a time,” Kratz said. “I got a second wind in the 17th inning. You get energy from seeing your pitchers come out and throw longer than theyre used to, execute pitches.”
After Belt doubled and two batters were intentionally walked to load the bases, the Rockies went to a five-man infield, bringing in center fielder Ian Desmond. Kratz hit a slow grounder to Desmond, who had to run to his left and made a diving stop before throwing home. Belt slid in safely, but Rockies manager Bud Black immediately asked for a replay.
A brief replay confirmed the call that catcher Chris Iannettas foot was off the plate, giving the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
While Kratz got the accolades for driving in the winning run, it was San Franciscos bullpen that made the difference. Eight relievers combined for 14 scoreless innings after the Rockies scored twice in the fourth.
“What a job that bullpen did, all of them,” Bochy said. “Just a really gutty effort.”
Few of the announced crowd of 33,616 were still around when the 5-hour, 35-minute marathon game ended at 12:50 Saturday morning. It was the longest game at Oracle Park since an 18-inning loss to Arizona on May 29, 2001.
A postgame fireworks show began shortly after the game finished.
Travis Bergen (2-0), the ninth pitcher used by Bochy, retired six batters and earned the win.
“Thats pretty special right there,” Bergen said. “Everybody comes in and does more than what theyre usually asked. Almost every guy was extended. We were just trying to get us back in the dugout to give us a chance to score a run, and we did at the end.”
DJ Johnson (0-1) took the loss for Colorado. The Rockies (3-11) have lost seven straight and are off to the worst start in franchise history.
The teams combined for 41 strikeouts — 24 by the Rockies. The Giants ran out of giant “K” markers that are hung along the brick wall near right field signifying strikeouts, so three fans stood and posed like Ks after the 21st strikeout by Colorado.
“We fought hard all night, so did they,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Our strikeouts were a little high but overall I thought we were on the attack. We had some opportunities we didnt cash in.”
The Giants and Rockies are the only teams that have not scored in the first inning this season.
Giants starter Drew Pomeranz had an uneven outing against his former team, allowing two runs and four hits in five innings. That was significantly better than his previous two starts. Colorados Chad Bettis pitched into the sixth inning and allowed two runs on six hits.