They might not have played the best baseball in the major leagues this season, but the Arizona Diamondbacks certainly have played the most. They set a record Tuesday night, surpassing the 1969 Minnesota Twins with 79 extra innings played in 2013. The D-backs outlasted the San Diego Padres 2-1 in 12 innings for their 80th victory of the season, and improved their record in extras to 17-7.
Among the D-backs longest efforts: They beat the Phillies in 18 innings in August, won a pair of 16-inning games, edged the Mets in 15 on the Fourth of July, played three 14-inning games and played 11 more that went at least 11 innings. Only six times was 10 innings enough.
Their overtime helped Major League Baseball as a whole play more extra-inning games than during any previous season dating to 1916.
Arizona relief pitcher Brad Ziegler, via the Associated Press, did not take total comfort in his team's new record:
''A lot of the games we played extra innings were because of blown saves,'' Ziegler said. ''But it also says a lot about our offense because there were a lot of games that we came from behind to get to extra innings, too. We've won a whole lot of those games. It's hard on the pitching staff and it's fatiguing for everybody, but we fought through and played those games well.''
The D-backs lead the league with 29 blown saves. Despite their glowing won-loss record after the ninth inning, playing all of that extra baseball didn't help them in the grand scheme. Arizona spent 81 days in first place — about a week more than the Los Angeles Dodgers, champions of the NL West, will have by the end of the regular season. The Dodgers' incredible hot streak, along with Arizona's regression to mediocrity, has doomed the D-backs to second place.
The '69 Twins, who played 76 extra innings, made overtime pay off. They finished in first place in the old AL West before falling to the Orioles in the ALCS. Manager Billy Martin's crew included Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Graig Nettles, Jim Perry, Jim Kaat, Ron Perranoski and Charlie Manuel.