Diamondbacks not ready to see season end
The Arizona Diamondbacks, facing elimination for a second consecutive night, came out of the gates swinging. And hitting. And scoring.
The home team plated 10 runs in total, and if this was the last time Valley fans got to see their team, what a way to go out.
"I think it means a lot, it means a lot to the fans," said Ryan Roberts, who hit a grand slam in the game. "They come out, they want to see us win, especially down 0-2, they want to see us come back."
And come back they did, in a way that sent a message to the Brewers and the rest of Major League Baseball.
It's not just that the team turned what was a best-of-five series into a one game, winner take all battle. It's that, left for dead by many, Arizona did not roll over for the Brewers, but instead did what they've done all season: find ways to win ballgames.
Tuesday night it was rookies Josh Collmenter and Paul Goldschmidt leading the way, while Wednesday's stars were Roberts, Chris Young and half the bullpen.
"I always like to say, everybody's been doing a little something," catcher Miguel Montero said.
He couldn't be more right.
Eight different players recorded a hit for Arizona while six pitchers all recorded at least one out. Runs were driven in by Roberts, Young, Aaron Hill and Colin Cowgill.
"An all-around team effort, you know, you never know, you can't script it out - ever," said Micah Owings, who pitched two scoreless innings of relief. "For us to just keep fighting, you know where we're at and keep playing the best that we can, that's all we can ask for."
Well that, and one more win.
Because of that the team's focus immediately shifts back to Game 5, as Friday will feature a rematch of Game 1 starters Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo, only this time the Diamondbacks have the momentum, if you believe such a thing exists in baseball.
"Yeah, absolutely," Roberts said of having momentum now. "You can come home and get two wins, it's big for our team."
At the very least, coming home and playing in front of a packed house gave the Diamondbacks an edge they didn't have in Games 1 and 2.
"We've played good here and on the road, but we obviously didn't show that in Milwaukee," right fielder Justin Upton said. "We got our confidence here at home in front of our home fans.
"We just need to take that confidence back to Milwaukee."
That will be the trick, as this series is now a best of one with the Brewers having home field advantage and a pitcher in Yovani Gallardo who the D- backs have scored just three earned runs off of in 21 innings of work.
"He's mastered us pretty good so we're going to have to think about how we approach him," D-backs Manager Kirk Gibson said of Gallardo. "We have to change something different than we have before. He's very formidable."
He is, and there's a good chance Friday's tilt will see a few less runs scored than Wednesday's, as the D-backs will be sending their own ace to the hill.
The confidence in Kennedy runs so deep that when asked about having to face Gallardo, rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt praised is own guy.
"We've got Ian on the hill so both teams will be full of confidence," he said. "It should be a fun game."
If by "fun" Goldschmidt means "stressful" and "intense" he may be on to something. However, D-backs fans can have confidence knowing this game was thought about long before it became a reality.
"As we sat and laid it out, if we can get to Game 5 in their environment with our No. 1 guy against their No. 1 guy, you couldn't ask for anything better," Gibson said.
You really couldn't. One game to determine who advances to the NLCS, with a pair of stud pitchers on the hill backed by offenses that are capable of putting up big numbers.
Getting the win and keeping this dream season alive would mean becoming the first team to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win the NLDS. Given that this team has a penchant for coming back, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them add another notch to their already impressive belt of accomplishments.
But no matter what happens Friday, if Wednesday's win was the swan song for the 2011 Diamondbacks, the Valley can certainly feel good about its baseball team.
But they're not done yet.
"We haven't accomplished anything yet," Gibson said. "We didn't come here to win two games and not win the series."
And while the team will be packing for five days on the road in case they have to head to Philadelphia for a game Sunday, the important thing is still having games to play.
"Hopefully we keep doing it and bring the victory home," Montero said. "I'm not ready to go home yet, I'm not ready to stop playing."