SAN FRANCISCO - On the field, the Mets and Giants took turns taking tired-looking swings and throwing tired-looking pitches. Above it, even the seagulls surely had grown tired of circling around for their meals.
Ferry service to Oakland ceased. The local subway stopped running. The Giants resorted to wearing rally caps, turning them inside out to bring about resolution, and only the most loyal of patrons remained to witness it.
But at long last, it came — at 3:42 a.m. EDT Tuesday.
In the 16th, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford — who had made a sparkling play in the 11th inning to keep the score tied — booted Anthony Recker's routine two-out grounder. Eric Young Jr. scored from third base with the go-ahead run in the Mets’ 4-3 win over the Giants.
Despite allowing a walk and Buster Posey's fifth hit of the game in the 16th, Mets closer Bobby Parnell nailed down the save exactly 5 hours, 26 minutes after the moment that Tim Lincecum delivered the first pitch.
For the 11th time this season, the Mets played extra innings. For the fifth time, they won. It was the third time in July alone that the Mets played a game of at least 13 innings.
''We've played in some really long, long games. Several of them," Recker said. "We haven't always been on the winning side, so it's definitely nice to come out on the winning side for this one."
Eight Giants pitchers threw 232 pitches, striking out 19. Seven Mets pitchers threw 285 pitches, striking out 15, including Brandon Belt five times. The Mets were outhit 14-9 and had only three hits in the final 10 innings, but the Giants stranded 13 runners in the final six innings. Crawford and Marco Scutaro had three hits each for the Giants.
The game stretched deep into the night despite several close calls.
In the top of the 11th, Marlon Byrd thought he put the Mets ahead with a run-scoring single to left. Instead, with two outs and runners on second and third, Crawford dived to his right, scrambled to his feet, then fired a strike to first base. His throw beat Byrd by a full step.
Exasperated, Byrd used both hands to clutch his batting helmet, though he thought twice about spiking it.
In the bottom of the 11th, rightfielder Byrd and second baseman Daniel Murphy botched Posey's fly ball.
The miscommunication resulted in Murphy letting the ball glance off his glove as he attempted an over-the-shoulder catch, allowing Posey to pull into second with a one-out double.
But with two outs, Crawford hit a harmless pop- up to send the game into the 12th.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off with a single, and with one out, Omar Quintanilla scorched a liner down the third-base line — right to third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
The Giants loaded the bases in the 13th and 15th, only to come away empty- handed.
Indeed, it was that kind of night. Matt Harvey allowed three runs in seven innings despite throwing 5o pitches to get through the first two frames. He has pitched through a blister on his index finger for the last three weeks. He even skipped his bullpen session this week because the blister gave him trouble.
Terry Collins wondered if Harvey's blister issue led to his command problems.
"I'm not happy about it," said Harvey, who tied a career-high by throwing 121 pitches. "There's work to be done."
Posey gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the first with his homer off Mets righthander Matt Harvey.
In the fifth, the Mets cut the lead in half on John Buck’s RBI double off Lincecum. Byrd scored all the way from first base.
The Mets pulled ahead in the sixth with some help from an old friend. Former Met Andres Torres misplayed a carom in the leftfield corner, allowing Young to slide into third with a triple. He scored on Murphy’s single.
When Ike Davis bounced into a double play, Murphy scored the go-ahead run.
The lead was short-lived. With Harvey at 107 pitches, manager Terry Collins elected to leave the righthander in, a decision that didn’t work out.
Hunter Pence lined the first pitch he saw from Harvey off the top of the fence in right- center for a triple.
One pitch later, he scored the tying run on Crawford’s single up the middle.
The next run wouldn’t score for quite a while. Only then could the seagulls finally begin their feast.
"I've never even heard of anything like this," Collins said. "The games we've played, the innings we've played, the conditions we've played, the travel schedule, it's unbelievable. We're used to it."