PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks returned home from Milwaukee with their backs against the wall as they faced elimination for their first — and what could have been only — home playoff game.
The team with no expectations all season turned to a rookie — Josh Collmenter.
The rookie delivered.
Was the rookie nervous going into a win or go home game?
“No, no butterflies,” Collmenter said. “I just stuck to the same routine, got to the ballpark at the same time did the normal warmup things, I didn’t want to try to put any other pressure on it.”
In his first postseason start Collmenter gave the team seven quality innings allowing one run on two hits. He struck out six and walked two.
“It’s been incredible,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “He gave up one run three times [against the Brewers], walked three, struck out 16. I think he had one ground ball, struck out six tonight and I think everything else was in the air.”
One of the two hits was a solo home run by Corey Hart to start the third inning. That made it 3-1 with the power of the Brewers lineup coming for the second time. After that Collmenter retired nine straight and 15 of 16.
Braun and Fielder would both go 0-for-2 with Collmenter walking Braun and hitting Fielder in the first. A Rickie Weeks strike out would end the Brewers’ threat.
“I wasn’t going to give in to Braun, and the game plan is to pitch Fielder in so I wasn’t worried about that,” Collmenter said of the mini jam he put himself in early in the game.