Erik Kratz drives in Brandon Belt to win 18 tickets



SAN FRANCISCO – Forty-eight minutes after midnight on Saturday, left-handed rookie Travis Bergen found himself standing near the waiting circle in his first at-bats since 2012, when he was a high school player in Georgia.
It was the end of the 18th inning, and Bergen was the last reliever.

SAN FRANCISCO – Forty-eight minutes after midnight on Saturday, left-handed rookie Travis Bergen found himself standing near the waiting circle in his first at-bats since 2012, when he was a high school player in Georgia.

It was the end of the 18th. Entry, and Bergen was the last reliever of the Giants.

"I was afraid of dying," Bergen said. "I was trying to decide if I was going to swing on the first pitch or not." I think I moved from one side to the other probably 50 times in what I felt like the three hours I was standing out there. "

But Bergen did not end up coming to the batter's box. A fall of five hours and 35 minutes between the Giants and the Rockies finally came to an end after Erik Kratz ashore in choosing a gardener who allowed Brandon belt to score the winning race and propel San Francisco to a 3-2 victory at Oracle Park.

The 18 entries matched the longest game in the history of the baseball stadium, matching the duration of the Giants' 1-0 loss to the D-backs on May 29, 2001.

"You do not prepare to play 18 innings, but it's like anything else, you do one shot at a time," said Kratz, 38, who caught the entire game. "I have a second breath in the 17th inning, I think."

Belt, whose 18-inning home run led the Giants to victory over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series, started the comeback by driving a 3-2 fastball from DJ Johnson out of the Right central garden wall for a double out.

"I'm the best 18-inning hitter that has ever existed," Belt teased later. "I'm 2-for-2 in the 18th inning."

The intentional walks to Brandon Crawford and Gerardo Parra loaded the bases for Kratz, who entered Friday just 2 of 13 in his first six games with the Giants.

Kratz stayed behind, 0-2, before knocking out a right fielder who was thrown by center fielder Ian Desmond, who was playing near the second as part of the Rockies' five-man infield. Desmond's shot defeated Belt on the plate, but catcher Chris Iannetta's foot was in front of the plate, and Belt was said to be sure to secure the first victory of the Giants season.

"I tried to play as a first baseman, and my foot did not stay at the base," Iannetta said. "I felt like I've never played baseball before, I do not think I'll go to sleep much after this."

Kratz became the first player to catch at least 18 innings and deliver the winning RBI of the game in the same game since Bob Boone of the Angels on April 13, 1982, against the Mariners.

"He's 38 years old and he caught the whole game," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He fought, and he put the ball in play. Is that what you want. Things can happen when you do that. We had to stay away from a punch. They almost made a great play, but it's good to finish that game, I'm not going to lie. "

The Giants fought to put a lot of pressure on the Rockies pitchers between the seventh and the 17th inning, but a stellar effort from their bullpen kept them in the game and gave them a chance to recover. After left-hander Drew Pomeranz left after allowing two runs in five innings, eight Giants relievers combined to shoot 13 scoreless innings, allowing just seven hits and striking out 19.

The Rockies threatened in the eighth inning after Trevor Story tied with one out to load the bases with one out, but left-hander Tony Watson managed to evade the damage by causing a line out of Desmond and striking out Josh Fuentes to finish the inning, keeping the draw 2-2 intact. Mark Melancon was also put to the test in his two work tickets, but dodged the problems and left the round-trip race stranded in the third in the 11th.

"What work did that bullpen do," Bochy said. "All of them, just a very good effort, they had some opportunities, and we got out of it, we had a good window where we could not get a man at second base, so it's a great victory. some guys where they had not been very often, they really threw their hearts and they won that game for us. "

Maria Guardado covers the MLB.com Giants. She previously covered the 2017-18 Angels. Follow her in Twitter.


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