Colorado and San Diego did just that Thursday night and into Friday morning, slogging through a 22-inning game that was the longest in the majors in nearly 15 years.
The Rockies finally won 2-1, with Troy Tulowitzki's two-out RBI double bringing in Willy Taveras with an unearned run in nearly empty Petco Park. A game that lasted 6 hours, 16 minutes was decided by an unearned run.
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy threw the game's first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The game didn't end until 1:21 a.m., when Padres pitcher Glendon Rusch took a called third strike. Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba, who caught all 22 innings, wearily pumped a fist in celebration.
''It's tough to keep your head into it and put together good at-bats and be into every pitch,'' Tulowitzki said. ''We were talking about how our legs were hurting out there. It's tough to stand on your feet for 22 innings and keep moving.''
Manager Clint Hurdle noticed that his players were a little tight.
''This was a good game to get outside yourself,'' Hurdle said. ''About the 16th inning, I said, 'Hey boys, no matter what's in front of us, there's a world of people out there who've got harder rows to hoe than we do. No matter what happens the rest of the night, have some fun with this thing.' ''
His players listened. It just took them six more innings to score a run.
''It's definitely better to win in a 22-inning game than lose, I'll tell you that,'' Tulowitzki said.
It was the longest game since Aug. 31, 1993, when Minnesota beat Cleveland 5-4 in 22 innings. It was also the longest game in Rockies history and in the 5-year history of Petco Park. It was the longest by innings for the Padres, and one minute short of matching the longest by time for San Diego.
There's something about these two teams and extra innings. On Oct 1., Colorado rallied past the Padres for a 9-8 win in 13 innings in the wild-card tiebreaker game.
There was a little bit of everything, but far too little offense on Thursday. There were planes to catch The Rockies open a series Friday in Houston and the Padres will be at Arizona but the game was scoreless until the 14th inning. Wouldn't you know it, each team scored a run that inning to prolong it.
In the 22nd, Taveras reached on a two-out grounder when shortstop Khalil Greene's throw pulled 6-foot-7 first baseman Tony Clark off the bag. Taveras stole second and took third on catcher Josh Bard's throwing error. Tulowitzki doubled to left-center of Glendon Rusch (0-1), the seventh Padres pitcher. Taveras set a club record with 10 at-bats.
Only a fraction of the crowd of 25,984 was around to see the final out.
Some Padres players amused themselves in the 18th by taping up the head of a stuffed ram and placing it on the front bench in the dugout. After the 18th, shortly after midnight, the sprinklers came on in the Park at the Park, a grassy knoll beyond the bleachers in right-center.
There was a seventh-inning stretch, a 14-inning stretch and finally, a 21st-inning stretch.
Greg Maddux had his glove on in the dugout in the 22nd. It was wishful thinking, because he's scheduled to start Friday night at Arizona, when he'll try for his 350th career victory.
The stadium's cleanup crew sat listlessly in the far upper deck as the game dragged on, knowing they were going to be working into the wee hours.
There were 659 pitches, by 15 pitchers. There were numerous foul balls. In the 14th inning, a man in the second deck caught a foul ball and yelled, ''That's it, I'm going home!'' as other fans cheered. He stayed until the end.
''That was an incredible baseball game,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ''It will go down as one that everybody who was here, will never forget it.''
San Diego's Josh Bard, who also caught all 22 innings, was angry.
''You give up two runs in 22 innings and you should win,'' he said.
''It's disappointing that we played so long and didn't get a win,'' right fielder Brian Giles said. ''Hopefully we'll play nine tomorrow.''
Had he ever played a game that long?
''Just in softball,'' Giles said.
The previous longest game this season by innings was 15, on April 9, when the Cubs beat the Pirates 6-4 at Pittsburgh. The previous longest in time was 4 hours, 53 minutes, Toronto at Texas on April 16. Texas won 7-5 in 14 innings.
Kip Wells (1-0), the eighth Rockies pitcher, pitched four innings.
Padres pitchers tied a team record with 20 strikeouts and their Rockies counterparts also set a record with 17 punchouts. Colorado stranded 16 runners and San Diego 14.
The Rockies went ahead 1-0 in the top of the 14th inning when Brad Hawpe drew a bases-loaded walk off Kevin Cameron to bring in Taveras.
The Padres tied it in the bottom of the inning when Bard's bases-loaded single off Manny Corpas brought in Kevin Kouzmanoff, aboard on a leadoff single. Tony Clark was forced at home for the second out and rookie Colt Morton San Diego's last position player grounded to third in his fourth big league at-bat. It was Corpas' second blown save in five chances.
The Padres blew a big chance in the 13th. Paul McAnulty led off with a line drive into the right-field corner but was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. Left-hander Randy Wolf, who beat the Rockies 6-0 on Tuesday night, followed with a pinch-hit single to center field but was stranded.
Three Rockies pitchers retired 23 straight Padres batters from the second to the 10th inning.
Peavy and Rockies lefty Jeff Francis started a pitcher's duel that the bullpens continued.
Peavy was trying to win his first four starts of a season for the first time. He struck out a season-high 11 in eight innings, the 25th time in his career he's reached double digits. He allowed four hits, walked three and lowered his ERA to 1.20.
Francis kept the Padres scoreless for seven innings while allowing three hits, striking out seven and walking one.
After Peavy's broken-bat, bloop single down the right-field line with two outs in the second, Francis retired 16 straight batters.
Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect eight and Taylor Buchholz a perfect ninth. Buchholz retired pinch-hitter Jim Edmonds leading off the 10th before allowing Greene's single. ^Notes:@ The 13 full scoreless innings were the most in the big leagues since July 20, 2004, at Oakland, when the A's beat Toronto 1-0 in 14. It was the longest for the Padres since July 15, 1994, when they won 2-1 at the New York Mets in 14. It was 0-0 after 13. ... The Padres have gone 94 innings without a home run.