The one game Wild Card this season was a tough gig for starting pitchers as a pair of righties exited early in Arizona.
A night after Yankees rookie Luis Severino and Twins veteran Ervin Santana got blown off the mound in the Bronx it was déjà vu in the desert between the Rockies and Diamondbacks.
Colorado’s 25-year old Jon Gray got roughed up for four-runs and was relieved after an inning and a third. Arizona’s ace Zack Greinke, cruising along with a 6-0 lead, got lifted in the fourth after the Rockies answered with four-runs of their own.
The Rockies bullpen kept the Diamondbacks off the scoreboard for the next few innings, closing the gap 6-5 on a sac bunt by Charlie Blackmon scoring Jonathan Lucroy who led off the seventh with a double off the centerfield wall.
Clinging to a one run lead, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo made the savvy move of the century allowing his setup man Archie Bradley bat in the bottom frame with two outs and runners on first and second.
The bearded wonder rewarded his skipper’s faith by launching a triple to left center, the first by a relief pitcher in the postseason, scoring a pair of runs to put the D-back’s up by three.
Those runs proved to be crucial as the Rockies hit back-to-back solo shots off of Bradley in the eighth.
“Nobody would have thought [Bradley’s triple] would happen, but that’s the beauty of our game, when things like this happen,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “That’s what makes this game special. Nobody could have predicted that. Again, that’s why this game is so great.”
Arizona put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth scoring three runs off of Rockies reliever Greg Holland, the guy who held the NL record this season in saves.
Fernando Rodney and his slanted baseball cap gave up a run in the ninth, ending this thrilling roller coaster ride by getting Nolan Arenado to ground into a force out at second.
As the D-backs NLDS date with the Dodgers begins on Friday, hopes are high having outscored the boys in blue 40-13 in their final two series. The downside is that after burning two of their top starters, Lovullo will have to determine who’ll get the nod against ace Clayton Kershaw. All I know is, LA boasting the best record in baseball isn’t going to matter much in the postseason.