Tuffy Gosewisch laughs off rare feat

PHILADELPHIA -- Arizona Diamondbacks catcher James Benjamin "Tuffy" Gosewisch has played a total of eight games in the major leagues, and he's already the answer to a bizarre trivia question that dates back 35 years.

Although Gosewisch might prefer to be linked to Johnny Bench or Carlton Fisk, he's traveling in much more obscure company.

In the 18th and final inning of Arizona's 12-7 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday night, Gosewisch earned some notoriety when he made outs against two Phillies position players who were pressed into service as pitchers. First Gosewisch lined out to left field against outfielder Casper Wells. The next turn around the order, he struck out on an 81 mph fastball from shortstop John McDonald.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last hitter to make outs against position player/pitchers in the same inning was former Toronto Blue Jays catcher Brian Milner, who grounded out against outfielder Larry Harlow and flied out against catcher Elrod Hendricks in a 24-10 win over Baltimore in June 1978.

If you don't remember Milner, there's a good reason: He logged nine at-bats in two big league games before going down to the minors, and never played another inning in the majors.

Gosewisch, a former Arizona State Sun Devil, has enough perspective to appreciate the bad days as long as they take place in a big league uniform. He logged 736 games and 2,767 plate appearances in the minors with the Phillies, Blue Jays and Diamondbacks before getting the call from Triple-A Reno in early August when Miguel Montero went on the disabled list with a back injury.

The video board at Citizens Bank Park captured Gosewisch with his head down, smiling, as he returned to the dugout following his strikeout against McDonald, a former Diamondback. It beat the alternative.

"Nobody wants to strike out against a position player, so what are you going to do?" Gosewisch said before the Phillies-Diamondbacks game Sunday. "I'm either going to get pissed or laugh about it. Johnny Mac is a good guy, and he has that on me for the rest of his life.

"I got a good ribbing last night, but not too bad. Everybody saw me laughing. It definitely helps to be a good sport. It never helps to have a bad attitude about it."

The Diamondbacks and Phillies were all a bit loopy in the aftermath of Saturday's marathon, which began at 7:06 p.m. and lasted seven hours and six minutes. It was the longest game time in the history of either franchise, and the longest MLB game, in terms of time, since Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on June 3, 1989. That game dragged on for 22 innings and lasted seven hours and 14 minutes.

Another piece of trivia from Elias: Wells and McDonald became the first position-player teammates to pitch in the same game since Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather took the mound for St. Louis in a 2-1, 20-inning loss to the New York Mets on April 17, 2010.

Players from both teams straggled into Citizens Bank Park on Sunday barely two hours in advance of a 1:35 p.m. getaway day matinee. After his morning briefing session with reporters, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson shared a text from his wife that read: "Woosh -- Freakin' crazy. Good thing you're a Gibson and won't require much sleep."

The Diamondbacks have been fading in the National League West race, but the longer games go, the better they get. They're 14-5 in extra innings this season, and 4-0 in games of 15 innings or longer. They’re the first team since the 1989 Dodgers to play three games of at least 16 innings in the same season.

"We seem to end up having the same amount of runs as the other team at the end of regulation, then we just kind of keep going," said pitcher Brandon McCarthy. "That's really what it boils down to. It's not a pre-planned strategy. We don't go to spring training and work on bunt plays and how to keep the game tied. I don't know why the hell it keeps happening. It's starting to get aggravating."