Five-run 14th breaks tie, powers Padres past Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The San Diego Padres weren't worried when their game with the Washington Nationals dragged on. The 11-6 victory, which lasted 14 innings and five hours, was only the Padres' third-longest game this season.

On April 17, they lost a 22-inning marathon to Colorado, and on May 25, they beat Cincinnati in 18 innings.

Manager Bud Black, who has endured all those extra innings, said he was confident his team would be able to outlast the Nationals.

"They all end eventually," Black said. "It's not cricket."

Black's team, which began the three-game series tied with Washington for the worst record in the National League, used 23 players -- including nine pitchers. His announced starter, Jake Peavy, was scratched because he had to attend to the birth of his son, which happened around gametime. Peavy's stopgap replacement, Dirk Hayhurst, had never pitched more than four innings in a major league game.

Black used every player but backup catcher Luke Carlin, and employed Sunday's starting pitcher Cha Seung Baek, as a pinch-hitter. He even used Jody Gerut, who hasn't batted since Aug. 27 because of a sprained middle finger, to hit.

Black was certain it was just a matter of time.

"I guess we hold them, and they hold us -- for a while," he said.

The Padres broke a 6-6 tie in the 14th when Chase Headley, who had four hits, hit a tie-breaking triple that keyed a five-run inning.

"You've got to be mentally tough to go out there and not get mentally fatigued out there," Headley said. "Everybody's tired, but it's the mental side that ends up winning you the game -- or losing you the game."

Both teams began the day tied with 58-95 records, and they played as if the game truly mattered.

The Nationals must win five of their remaining eight games to ensure they won't lose 100.

"The only difference between 99 and 100 is two zeros," Washington manager Manny Acta said.

Acta doesn't want the distinction of having the NL's worst record.

"It's something you try to avoid, but if that's your goal, your goal is very low," he said.

It's Headley's first full year in the majors, and at the end of last season, he played in the playoff game that San Diego lost to Colorado. This year, he's on a team whose season ends in eight days. Headley doesn't want the NL's worst record, either.

"Nobody wants to have that," he said.

With the score tied at 6, Kevin Kouzmanoff led off the 14th and was hit by a pitch by Levale Speigner (0-1), Washington's ninth pitcher which tied a club record. Headley, who also had two doubles and a single, tripled off the right field wall to score Kouzmanoff. Nick Hundley's single scored Headley. Brian Giles walked with the bases loaded and Adrian Gonzalez added a two-run single.

Justin Hampson (2-1), San Diego's eighth pitcher, got one out in the 13th, to get the win. Trevor Hoffman, appearing in his 900th game with the Padres, worked the 14th.

Acta just wants to forget the 526-pitch test of wills.

"It's just a game. We had our chances. We still played hard," Acta said. "We just couldn't come up with a hit. It's not disheartening at all. Let's go to bed and play the next one tomorrow."

Washington scored a run without a hit in the first inning. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a walk off stopgap starter Dirk Hayhurst. He stole second, advanced to third on an infield out and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's groundout.

In the second, the Nationals took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Roger Bernadina.

Will Venable, who had three hits and three RBIs, hit his second home run of the season with two outs in the third off Collin Balester for San Diego's first run. In the fourth, the Padres scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead on consecutive doubles by Giles and Gonzalez and a two-run homer by Kouzmanoff, his 22nd.

Washington tied the scored in the fourth. Lastings Milledge led off with a double. With one out, Kory Casto singled and Luke Montz walked to load the bases. Hayhurst started because Jake Peavy was in San Diego, awaiting the birth of a son. He was removed after 57 pitches in favor of Mike Ekstrom, who allowed a two-out single to Ballester, which scored Milledge. He walked Bonifacio with the bases loaded.

In the sixth, San Diego took a 5-4 lead on a bases-loaded infield single by Venable.

The Nationals tied the score at 5-all in the sixth on singles by Bernadina and Willie Harris and a sacrifice fly by Bonifacio.

The Padres took a 6-5 lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Venable, who was playing in his 20th major league game. In his first 19 games, he had five RBIs.

Washington tied the score at 6-all in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Cristian Guzman.

Game notes
Black said Peavy might start Tuesday in Los Angeles. ... San Diego C Josh Bard is out for the season with an irritated right triceps. ... The 20 hits allowed by the Nationals were the most this season. ... Balester has won one of his last eight starts.