Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Willie The Arm worked inside on Votto

The news of the morning was that reliever Jose Contreras had been activated from the disabled list and David Herndon had been optioned to triple A Lehigh Valley.

Willie The Arm worked inside on Votto

Wilson Valdez pitched a scoreless 19th inning in the Phillies´ marathon win over the Reds Wednesday. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Wilson Valdez pitched a scoreless 19th inning in the Phillies' marathon win over the Reds Wednesday. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

The news of the morning was that reliever Jose Contreras had been activated from the disabled list and David Herndon had been optioned to triple A Lehigh Valley.

The conversation, of course, was about the game between the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds that went on and on and on and on.

While you were sleeping or wished you were sleeping, the Phillies pulled out a 5-4, 19-inning victory at Citizens Bank Park after infielder Wilson Valdez pitched a scoreless inning and Raul Ibanez lifted a game-winning sacrifice fly to deep center field.

Valdez retired reigning NL MVP Joey Votto and current NL home run leader Jay Bruce during his scoreless bottom of the 19th inning. He was the first player to start a game in the field and win it as a pitcher since Babe Ruth. He was also the first Phillies position player to record a victory since Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx started Game 2 of a doubleheader and won on Aug. 19, 1945.

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"I have to be proud of myself and glad to be (one of few) in history," Valdez said.

Predictably, Valdez did not get a lot of sleep after the game 6-hour, 11-minute game ended at 1:19 a.m.

"I went home and packed for the road trip, then went to bed at 4 a.m.," Valdez said. "I'd say I slept three hours, something like that."

He kept his phone out of ringing distance after briefly talking to his wife Kamie, who had been awakened by her mother in the middle of the night.

"She was sleeping (in New Mexico) and received a telephone call from her mom," Valdez said. "She told me she heard the phone ring. It was her mom and she told her that I’m pitching. She jumped out of bed and turned on the TV."

What she got to see was Valdez shake off catcher Dane Sardinha while pitching to Votto. Later, Valdez called Sardinha to the mound for a conversation about pitching Votto inside, much to the amusement of starting catcher Carlos Ruiz, who had moved to third base for the 19th inning.

Ruiz whispered as he relayed the conversation between Valdez and Sardinha: "He called Dane to the mound and he was like, 'Hey, I'll pitch inside.' "

When pitching coach Rich Dubee asked Valdez if he could pitch, the second baseman started going over his arsenal with Ruiz.

"We were talking – I don’t remember what inning – but they asked him if he wanted to throw and he said, ‘Yes, why not?’," Ruiz said. "He said, ‘OK, I’m going to throw sinkers and sliders.’ If you’re a position player, you’re going to throw the ball over the plate. The funny thing was when he wanted to throw his fastball in. That’s unbelievable."

Valdez explained why he wanted to go inside to Votto, who launched a long drive that was caught by Michael Martinez in center field.

“He saw three pitches outside," Valdez said. "He was going to think something else was coming outside, so I decided to throw a sinker in."

Valdez, who was in Thursday's lineup at third base, said his arm felt good and he described it as the most enjoyable game of his career.

"I’d say yes," Valdez said. "It was fun for me because I had a chance to pitch and we took the win.”

Valdez had the baseball with the words "Wilson Valdez winning pitcher" stuffed in his locker Thursday morning.

Ruiz got the day off after catching the first 18 innings and said he had trouble sleeping.

"My brother was still awake and my friend from New York was at my house and we were talking about the game," Ruiz said. "I just didn’t feel like I wanted to go to sleep. I think it was almost 4 in the morning when I finally fell asleep."


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Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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