Long night for Phils as pitching woes persist

Long night for Phils as pitching woes persist

LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies took Monday night's loss to the Dodgers to new lengths.

They played what is believed to be the longest nine-inning game in franchise history. Their 10-7 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium lasted four hours and 13 minutes, with former shortstop Jimmy Rollins hitting a two-out single to left field to score two runs in the seventh inning to break a tie and help give the Dodgers the victory.

"I wasn't really surprised," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said about Rollins' late-inning heroics. "He's always been that kind of guy. Big-game situations, it doesn't matter what uniform he is wearing. He's always been that guy that wants to be up there in that situation. He's always been a guy who wants to be in that moment."

It took a while to reach that moment. Elias Sports Bureau only could go back to 1987, but Baseball-Reference said Monday's game was the Phillies' longest nine-inning contest since 1914.

"We looked at the clock, I couldn't believe what time it was," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said.

Both teams threw a combined 367 pitches. Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan threw 123 in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, seven runs, two walks, two home runs and struck out three. He could not hold a 6-3 lead, serving up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal in the fifth.

The Phillies outrighted O'Sullivan (1-6, 6.08 ERA) to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. He has not decided if he will accept his assignment or elect free agency.

"Not really surprising," said O'Sullivan, who posted an 11.05 ERA in his last three starts. "The last three games have obviously been below par."

Phillies starters have been unable to pitch six innings in 15 of the last 20 games, which has put a tremendous strain on the bullpen. It has forced Mackanin to manage the game differently.

"Under normal circumstances, very often what is happening is the pitcher gets into the fifth, and I don't really want to send the guy back out in the sixth, because he hasn't looked sharp, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we can, so that I don't abuse the bullpen," he said. "We just can't afford to use the bullpen. We've got to get more length."

Maybe Mackanin handles the seventh inning differently. With runners on second and third and two outs, Mackanin could have intentionally walked Rollins to load the bases then bring in a lefty to face Joc Pederson.

"Here we go again," Mackanin said. "I had to use my lefties in long relief a couple days ago, because of this situation. They weren't even available tonight. Maybe for one hitter, but it's hard to use a left-hander situationally, because I might need him to pitch two innings [the next day]."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.