PHOENIX - When it was finally over, after they sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" twice and ran the Legends Race twice and the clock stood at 12 minutes after midnight, Cliff Pennington did the safest thing he could do.
After driving in the winning run with a single up the middle in the bottom of the 16th inning early Thursday, he turned around and looked for the biggest teammate he could hug.
Fortunately, Eric Hinske, the Diamondbacks' gentle giant, was among the first to arrive when the entire team spilled out of the dugout and ran over to congratulate Pennington for his game-winning hit.
"Yeah, it was pretty awesome," Pennington said after the longest game in Chase Field history (in terms of time, at least), which lasted five hours, 32 minutes and ended in a 10-9 Arizona win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
"They were all coming at me and I figured I'd try to find the biggest one to jump on so I wouldn't get pummeled and (Hinske) was at the front of the line so I just jumped and let him take the brunt of it. I think he got hit more than I did."
Pennington, who had gone 0 for 11 to start the season until collecting all three of his hits in extra innings, did take a few hits. His teammates hit him with water and dirt, and outfielder Gerardo Parra dumped a pail of bubble gum on his head.
Even manager Kirk Gibson couldn't contain himself as he met with reporters afterward and the Diamondbacks had clinched their first series win of the season.
"Excuse me if I'm smiling," Gibson said.
It was a night for it if you were on the Diamondbacks' side of things. In a game that featured 33 hits, 15 pitchers and 513 total pitches thrown, this game had everything and more.
If it had kept going the way it was, though, you almost wondered if they eventually were going to have to close the roof at Chase Field. The sun, after all, eventually was going to rise.