PHOENIX, Ariz- The Arizona Diamondbacks wasted little time in taking control of the game. Zack Greinke started things with a 1-2-3 inning on just 15 total pitches. Then in the bottom of the inning, the offense jumped out to a 3-0 lead. David Peralta and Ketel Marte singled to set the stage for Paul Goldschmidt who deposited the first pitch he saw into the left-field seats. This was the third career postseason home run.
Arizona kept the pedal to the metal in the second inning. Adding a solo run on a triple by Ketel Marte driving home Peralta. That would be the knockout blow for Colorado’s Jon Gray as he would fail to get out of the second inning.
In the third inning, Daniel Descalso would add on with a two-run home run, his third career postseason home run giving the Diamondbacks a 6-0 lead.
Colorado stormed back in the fourth inning, scoring four runs, knocking out Greinke. Carlos Gonzalez started things with a single, however, he would be forced out on a fielder’s choice by Nolan Arenado. Trevor Story singled, advancing Arenado to second base. This set the stage for former Diamondback Gerardo Parra. He singled to score Arenado with the first run for the Rockies. Story scored on a groundout off the bat of Mark Reynolds. Jonathon Lucroy doubled home Parra and he would score on a pinch-hit single by Alexi Amarista. This closed the gap to 6-4.
Greinke’s line on the night, 3.2 innings, six hits, four runs, one walk and one strikeout on 58 total pitches. Andrew Chafin (1-0) came in to get the final out in the fourth and was credited with the win.
Torey Lovullo talked about removing Greinke from the game.” I think in this game it was my mindset and strategy to cut off moments. The Rockies can turn things sideways in a hurry. I felt like they were starting to get their motor running, and I wanted to turn it off. I felt the best option was to get Zack out of the game, and we would reload and figure out what to do next.”
Robbie Ray entered the game for Arizona in the fifth inning and had strikeouts of D.J. LeMahieu and Gonzalez and a fly out of Arenado. This was the first relief appearance since September 27, 2014 while with the Tigers versus the Twins and has 111 straight starts between appearances. This marked the third time in his career he has done so.
On the night Ray pitched 2.1 innings, two hits, one run and had three strikeouts on 34 total pitches. After the game, I talked with Ray about what this meant pitching in the Wild Card game. “I’m speechless. It’s an amazing feeling. Being here with the team, celebrating a victory like this. Moving on, it’s just awesome. I just went about it like I normally do. I stayed in my routine. I didn’t change anything. I stuck to the game plan and it worked out.” On facing the Dodgers, “We’re ready,” added Ray.
To bring in Ray was a big decision and Lovullo talked about that. “This is an all-in moment. I felt like he was the best guy to put back in the bullpen. I felt like if things didn’t go our way, and needed to maneuver in extra innings we’d have some pieces left. It’s not a time where you need to save pieces. I felt like Robbie (Ray) was our best option for us. He did enough to get us to that moment where Archie (Bradley) took over.”
With neither team scoring in the fifth and sixth innings, it only seemed to fit that both teams would score in the seventh inning. The Rockies added a run, cutting the deficit to 6-5, however in the bottom of the inning, Arizona added two runs and extended their lead to 8-5. With Lamb and Descalso on base, Bradley tripled them home. Bradley has had two hits all season. A triple in the regular season and a triple here in the postseason. These triples have come in back-to-back at-bats for him. This is the first time a reliever had hit a triple in the postseason, and the fifth time by a pitcher. The last to do this was Dontrelle Willis in the 2003 NLDS game three vs the Braves.
Bradley talked about the triple.” I would have rather taken a nice jog into second base, stood up and taken my double there. But it’s just kind of who I am. I don’t know any other way to play. So I was going to run as hard as I could until they told me to stop.”
In the eighth inning, the Rockies made things interesting with back-to-back home runs by Arenado and Story. This is the second time in Colorado’s history that this has been done. The first time came in 2007 against the Phillies in game two when Matt Holiday and Troy Tulowitzki first accomplished this. Tonight marked the first time that a Rockies player had ever homered off Arizona’s Bradley.
Holding on to a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the inning, the Diamondbacks erupted for three runs to increase their lead 11-7. This was highlighted by a two-run triple by A.J. Pollock driving in J.D. Martinez who reached on a fielders choice and Jake Lamb who reached on a single. Pollock then scored on a Mathis bunt single.
With a four-run lead and the closer for Arizona Fernando Rodney on the mound, things looked to be only a formality. However, the Rockies had other ideas. Like they have done all night, they kept battling. Ian Desmond started with a single and advanced to second on defensive indifference, and would score on a Carlos Gonzales single cutting the deficit to 11-8. Arenado would ground out for the final out of the ballgame, giving the Diamondbacks the victory and a date in the NLDS (National League Division Series) vs the Dodgers.
There were many heroes on the night for Arizona. First Goldschmidt, getting the Diamondbacks on the board. That home run was his third career postseason home run. Descalso with a home run, his third career in the postseason as well. Ketel Marte with a 3-for-5 night, with two triples. He was the first in team history to accomplish this and last in the postseason since Mariano Duncan in 1993 NLCS game three vs Braves. Lamb with a four-hit night. Peralta with a 3-for-5 night.
Next up for the Diamondbacks is the NLDS against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. The first game is set for Friday, with first pitch at 7:30 MST. The possible candidates could be Taijuan Walker, Zack Godley or Patrick Corbin to face Clayton Kershaw.