Second baseman Valdez picks up win for Phils
Infielder becomes first position player since 2000 to earn victory
The shaving cream was still in his goatee, still stuck in his ears.
It was the lasting image of second baseman Wilson Valdez's improbable win, especially considering he retired the meat of Cincinnati's lineup to set up the Phillies' 19-inning, 5-4 win against the Reds on Wednesday night.
And for the first time in the Majors since Brent Mayne of the Rockies faced the Braves on Aug. 22, 2000, a position player was the winning pitcher.
The last player to start a game in the field and earn a win was Babe Ruth on Oct. 1, 1921, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ruth started in left field for the Yankees in that game.
Valdez said he hadn't pitched since a 2002 backyard game in his native Dominican Republic but needed just 10 pitches to get through the Reds' Nos. 3-6 hitters.
"It was fun. It's something that I will never forget," Valdez said. "I'm a winner. I was ready to pitch, and I'm glad that I went 1, 2, 3."
He got reigning National League MVP Joey Votto to fly out to deep center. Ditto Jay Bruce after hitting Scott Rolen with a pitch. Then, pitcher Carlos Fisher popped out to second.
"It was funny, because when Votto was hitting, [Valdez] started shaking [off catcher] Dane [Sardinha], and I was like, 'What is he about to throw? What does he have?' " first baseman Ryan Howard said. "He threw him a sinker in, and I was like, 'OK.' "
It was the first time Charlie Manuel had ever used a position player to pitch, the manager said after the game.
"I think he got his fastball up to 88, 89 miles per hour," Manuel said. "That's better than some guys I see out there."
Valdez was asked if he could pitch, and he took over for Danys Baez, who threw five innings and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out three on 73 pitches.
Baez, the last available pitcher for the Phillies, was told he would not return for a fourth inning but asked to stay in so Valdez wouldn't have to face the middle of the Reds' order.
"It is what it is at that point," Bruce said. "Obviously you'd like to get something going against him, but we didn't. That stuff happens. He actually had OK stuff."
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.