Even Ryan Ludwick was surprised that he was still up there swinging, getting that one last try to end the game.
Moments later, he was in the middle of a joyous scrum at home plate.
Ludwick fouled off three tough pitches to extend his at-bat, then homered in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals for their fifth straight win.
''He was 0-2, but that's what the game's about,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''Battle, battle, battle, foul one off and hope you get one to drive - and he did.''
Cincinnati's surge has moved it back into first place in the NL Central. The Reds have matched their season high at 11 games over .500.
Ludwick got two strikes to start his at-bat against Victor Marte (2-2), brought into the game to face him. He then fouled off three tough pitches, including a fastball that nearly got the best of him.
''I don't know how I got to it,'' Ludwick said.
He took three pitches out of the strike zone, working the count full. Then, he figured on a slider and nailed it, sending a line drive to left that barely cleared the wall for the Reds' third game-ending homer of the season.
In any other ballpark, it might have been no more than a double. At Great American, it was a game-ender.
''I didn't know it was going to get out because he hit it on such a line,'' Reds starter Mike Leake said. ''He put a great at-bat together there at the end.''
Ludwick's 13th homer made a winner out of Sam LeCure (3-2), who pitched a perfect 10th inning. It was especially satisfying for Ludwick, a former Cardinal.
''I'd be lying if I said it wasn't,'' said Ludwick, who played for St. Louis from 2007-10. ''I have a lot of respect for them. I was with them a long time and I would never want to show them up, but it feels good.''