Sedona Red Recap: D-backs advance to NLDS after wild win over Rockies
PHOENIX — After waiting five years for postseason baseball to return to Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks made sure it would not be a short visit.
Highlighted by a postseason franchise record four triples plus home runs by Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso, the D-backs outlasted the Colorado Rockies, 11-8, to win the National League Wild Card Game in front of a sold-out crowd of 48,803, including MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, on Wednesday.
The D-backs advanced to the National League Division Series, where they’ll face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ketel Marte tripled twice and drove in a run, while A.J. Pollock and Archie Bradley, yes, Archie Bradley, each had two-run triples; all part of a 17-hit attack.
Everybody one clap 👏🍾 #OurSeason pic.twitter.com/qd37Z9Ykow
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) October 5, 2017
Goldschmidt got things started with a three-run home run in the first, while Descalso connected on a two-run home run in the third inning to stake the D-backs to a 6-0 lead, knocking out Rockies starter Jon Gray (0-1) in the process.
The D-backs never trailed in the game. Twice, however, Colorado rallied to within a run, 6-5 and 8-7.
Zack Greinke lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing four runs — all in the fourth inning — on six hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Andrew Chafin (1-0) closed the door on the Rockies in the fourth to pick up the win, recording only one out and throwing just seven pitches.
Four pitchers followed: Robbie Ray (2.1 innings), Jorge De La Rosa (0.1), Bradley (1.1) and Fernando Rodney (1.0) to help maintain the lead for the D-backs, who earned the first home win by a National League Wild Card team since 2013.
The D-backs had not been to the playoffs since 2011.
Three batters and eight pitches is how long it took for the D-backs to jump in front 3-0 in the first inning. After back-to-back singles by David Peralta and Marte, Goldschmidt ripped a first-pitch curveball high and deep into the seats in left field for a three-run home run. So much for that 0-for-17 to end the season. Goldschmidt entered the game 0-for-11 with five strikeouts in his career against Gray.
One inning later, the D-backs had knocked Gray from the ballgame. With one out and Peralta on first base after another base hit to center field, Marte lined a 96.8 mph fastball into the right-center gap for an RBI triple, extending the D-backs’ lead to 4-0 in the second. There had been some question as to Marte’s postseason availability. He left the regular-season finale in Kansas City with hamstring tightness.
Playing in his 38th postseason game, Descalso hit his third career postseason home run. It was a two-run shot to right field on a 1-1 offering from left-hander Tyler Anderson that extended the D-backs’ lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning. Descalso got the start at second base over Brandon Drury as manager Torey Lovullo elected to go with experience. On top of that, Descalso had played well at season’s end.
With two on and two outs in a one-run ballgame in the seventh inning, Lovullo allowed Bradley to hit for himself. And he delivered. In a big way. A very big way. Bradley laced a 2-2 slider from Pat Neshek into the left-center field gap for a two-run triple that extended the D-backs’ lead to 8-5. Chants of “Archie! Archie! Archie!” filled the ballpark. Bradley became the first relief pitcher to triple in the postseason.
It’s called insurance, and the D-backs bought some in the eighth inning. With two on and two outs and the home team clinging to a one-run lead, Pollock lined a triple to center field scoring J.D. Martinez and Jake Lamb. Mathis added a bunt single to plate a third run, pushing the D-backs’ lead to 11-7. By the way, the D-backs became only the third team in postseason history with four or more triples in a game.
For the first time this season, Greinke was unable to complete at least four innings. He appeared to be in cruise control early, retiring the first seven batters faced and had thrown three scoreless innings before trouble arose in the fourth. Four singles and a double by Jonathan Lucroy produced four runs, trimming the D-backs’ lead to two, 6-4.
Through four innings, the D-backs had left five runners on base, four of whom were stranded in scoring position including three 90-feet away at third base. Two runners were left on base in the first and fourth innings, while one was stranded in the second. During this stretch, the D-backs went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
He giveth and he taketh away; and all of a sudden what was a three-run cushion was reduced to one, 8-7, once again. Bradley, perhaps tired from running the bases the previous half inning, surrendered back-to-back eighth-inning solo home runs — both on 1-1 counts — to Nolan Arenado (left-center field concourse) and Trevor Story (right field).
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
5: Of the D-backs’ 17 hits, five went for extra bases, including four triples. They scored 10 of their 11 runs via the extra-base hit.
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
6: The D-backs improved to 6-0 in “win-or-go-home” playoff games at Chase Field.
HE SAID IT
“This ballpark with big gaps, the ball can move quickly through the grass. I think triples in this ballpark don’t totally surprise me,” Lovullo said. “But if you compile four in one game, it’s a little bit of a shock. After one day, I think I’ve seen everything, and this was an incredible game.”
Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 12-of-18 batters. In addition, he reached a three-ball count two times.
Goldschmidt now has three career postseason home runs, the third-most in D-backs franchise history.
Goldschmidt now has eight career postseason RBI, tied for the third-most in D-backs franchise history.
Marte became the first player in D-backs franchise history to record two triples in a postseason game.
Lamb finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored and tied a franchise postseason record for the number of hits in one game.
With a first-pitch temperature of 96 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and panels closed.
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It was a strike, of course.
A larger American flag was displayed in center field as Jesse McGuire performed the National Anthem.
A moment of silence was held in remembrance of the 59 people killed in Sunday’s Las Vegas shootings.
The first 45,000 fans in the ballpark received a D-backs Rally Towel courtesy of the D-backs’ sponsors.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Suns managing partner Robert Sarver attended the game.
It’s a quick turnaround for the D-backs, not that anyone is complaining of course.
Their postseason run continues with another playoff matchup against an opponent from the NL West, the L.A. Dodgers, beginning on Friday. It’s Game 1 of the NLDS.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
The D-backs are one of only two teams — Colorado being the other — to have a winning record versus the Dodgers this season. They went 11-8, including 5-5 at Dodgers Stadium. And on their last visit to Southern California, just last month, the D-backs swept the Dodgers, outscoring baseball’s best team, 19-2.
By the way, this series is a best-of-five format with Game 3 and 4 (if necessary) set for Monday and Tuesday, respectively, at Chase Field.