Ludwick drove in the winning run with a two-out infield single in the 14th inning, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a marathon 4-3 victory Monday night that handed the fading Pirates their fourth straight loss.
Rick VandenHurk (0-1), called up before the game, started the 14th and gave up a single by Devin Mesoraco. Brandon Phillips reached when the Pirates failed to get a forceout on his grounder, and the runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Pirates shortstop Chase d'Arnaud couldn't come up with Ludwick's grounder in the hole, finally ending it.
"I stunk the entire game," said Ludwick, who was 0-for-5 before the final at-bat. "I must've had a thousand chances to win the game, and I finally did it on the thousandth chance. Every time I came up, it seemed like there were guys on base. I'm glad I finally got it done in ... what inning was it? The 14th?"
Yes, the 14th. And there was plenty of drama in both halves of it.
The Pirates loaded the bases with none out in the top of the 14th against Alfredo Simon (2-2) and failed to score -- Jose Tabata grounded out to end the threat. The organist played "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" again between innings.
It was the Reds' longest game of the season in innings and time -- 5 hours, 22 minutes. The Pirates played a 19-inning, 6-hour game against St. Louis last month.
"That was a game we needed big time," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We were spent, emotionally and physically."
Imagine what the Pirates felt!
Their slump -- four straight losses and 21 in the past 30 games -- has dropped them a season-high 12 games behind the first-place Reds in the NL Central.
"Well, you know, I've heard that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're fighting through this thing. This has been a big push for us. It's been a hard time for a while."
Chapman had trouble getting his fastball up to speed in his first appearance since Friday, when he had his club-record streak of 27 straight saves snapped. Chapman walked the bases loaded around a pair of outs, his fastball topping out at 96 mph.
Baker said after the game that Chapman will get some rest.
"His velocity's down," Baker said. "There's no pain, but he might be a little tired. We might have to rest him for a few days. He was analyzed by the doctor and his shoulder might be a little fatigued."
The Reds wasted a chance in the bottom of the 10th, leaving the bases loaded when Jay Bruce struck out. Bruce went 0-for-5, ending his nine-game hitting streak.
Plate umpire Phil Cuzzi warned both benches after Jared Hughes hit Brandon Phillips in the leg with a one-out pitch in the eighth. Phillips paused a moment, picked up the ball and tossed it back toward the mound before heading to first base. The Pirates were upset earlier in the season when a couple of their players got plunked in games.
The game drew 16,577 fans, the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season. The second-smallest crowd of the season also was for a Pirates game -- 16,859 for a 5-4 Reds win on June 6.
Pittsburgh left-hander Wandy Rodriguez allowed only one hit through the first six innings -- Chris Heisey's solo homer. Hughes relieved in the seventh and gave up a two-run double by Dioner Navarro that tied it at 3.
Andrew McCutchen homered off Mat Latos, who got a no-decision and remained unbeaten against the Pirates in his career. The right-hander gave up three runs and remained 4-0 in six career starts against Pittsburgh, allowing a total of nine runs.
There were more than 500 dogs in the stands as part of a promotion that allowed fans to bring their pets. ... VandenHurk and d'Arnaud were called up before the game, along with RHP Bryan Morris. ... The Reds went 32-16 without 1B Joey Votto and are 2/3 since his return. Votto celebrated his 29th birthday. ... Reds SS Zack Cozart missed his sixth straight game with a strained oblique muscle. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen took grounders at third base before the game to test his back, which sidelined him for four games, and pinch-hit in the 13th. He grounded out.