By the 15th inning, as Tuesday turned into Wednesday, Vin Scully announced, “Tomorrow is no longer another day. It has arrived.”
By the top of the 16th inning, the Dodgers’ starting pitcher, Brett Anderson, was shaving the paint off a baseball bat in the dugout.
By the bottom of the 16th, a pitcher, the Colorado Rockies’ Jason Gurka, was playing right field.
A long, weird night had to end eventually for the Dodgers and Rockies. It just “didn’t feel like it there for a while,” Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.
The merciful end came, at last, when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado hit a 95-mph Mat Latos pitch into the bleachers for a home run in the top of the 16th. In the bottom of the inning, Ronald Torreyes struck out with a runner on third, and the Rockies won the game 5-4, five hours and 23 minutes after it started.
It was the Dodgers’ longest game, inning-wise, since a 17-inning game in 2007. The teams combined to use 58 total players, a major-league record. They used 24 pitchers, also a major-league record. The Rockies alone used 13, a major-league record.
The Dodgers used 11 pitchers and 28 players total, both franchise records.
By the end, Carl Crawford, injured and available only in an emergency situation, pinch hit. This surely counted as an emergency. Jimmy Rollins, who has an injured hand, was a pinch runner. Scott Van Slyke, also with a sore hand, was a decoy in the on-deck circle.
“In this time of year, you don’t plan on running out of guys,” Mattingly said. “We pretty much ran out of guys.”
After Arenado’s home run, a Dodgers fan, one of a handful remaining, held the baseball up high into the misty air, raced up the bleachers, and promptly cast it onto the field like a cursed idol. It ended a night of tension and drama, sloppy play and dizzying lineup moves, and what even those involved admitted were large swaths of boredom.
Anderson, the Dodgers’ left-hander, was asked after the game about his start, his first since Sept. 6 as a precaution after a calf cramp. How did he feel?
“It was a while ago,” he said.
But a search through his long-term memory revealed that he felt sharp. Mattingly agreed.
He pitched six innings and allowed three runs, one unearned, on only 78 pitches.
The Dodgers scored first on a Justin Turner single in the first inning. Anderson’s three runs all came in the fourth, all on balls that didn’t leave the infield.
In the seventh inning, a Chris Heisey sacrifice fly and an Austin Barnes pop up, which missed three fielders and scored a run, tied the game. That status held until Heisey nearly cost the Dodgers the game in the top of the 11th, then saved it in the bottom half.
In the top of the inning, Heisey slipped while leaping to make a difficult attempt at a Justin Morneau fly ball near the center-field wall. Morneau tripled and scored on the next at bat.
But in the bottom of the frame, Heisey tapped a swinging bunt that scored the tying runner from third.
In between, there was tension on both sides. The Dodgers believed Rockies starter Chris Rusin was quick-pitching them. Rusin said he sensed the Dodgers were upset about something, but was not made aware of their specific complaints until he was in the dugout.
In the fourth inning, Justin Turner came in hard on a slide at second base, upending Arenado.
Mattingly said Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach looked at the replay and thought it clean.
“They’ve probably forgotten about it by now,” Mattingly said.
Rockies Manager Walt Weiss disagreed. He said the slide came in late.
Mattingly’s assessment, though, was not without merit. By the end, players struggled just to stay awake. To pass the time, Anderson used a razor to do cosmetic work on his bat, as Van Slyke and left-hander Clayton Kershaw looked on.
“You try to do everything you can to keep engaged,” Anderson said. “But baseball’s kinda boring as it is. Let alone games like this.”
He was speaking with reporters in the tunnel, instead of the clubhouse, as is customary for the starter. It was hard to blame him for hastening his departure.
It was nearing 1 a.m., and it was time to go home.
Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand
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