PHOENIX – An unlikely hero stepped up for the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night in the National League Wild Card game.
Relief pitcher Archie Bradley energized a sellout crowd with a two-run triple that helped spark the D-backs to an 11-8 win over the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field.
“He puts this Hall of Fame-type swing on a pitch and the whole place went nuts,” said Arizona’s Jake Lamb. “… It was one of those things where you are not expecting that whatsoever. Maybe a base hit, but not a triple. That was a big moment.”
Bradley sent his triple to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Lamb and Daniel Descalso for an 8-5 lead.
“It came down to one of those crazy moments where a relief pitcher got a hit off an All-Star (in Pat Neshek),” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “Who would have scripted that one? It’s crazy.”
However, the drama didn’t stop there as Bradley then yielded back-to-back home runs in the top of the eighth and Colorado again got to within one run, 8-7.
While Bradley obviously dealt with some fatigue after running the bases during his triple, he didn’t use it as an excuse.
“I view the game in a very simple way,” Bradley said. “I just made two really bad pitches to two really good hitters. That’s really what it comes down to. Tired or not, you have to be able to refocus, you have to be able to regain your control and make quality pitches in big-time situations.”
Luckily for Bradley, teammate A.J. Pollock came through in the bottom of the eighth inning with Arizona’s fourth triple of the game to give it a 10-7 advantage. No team had connected on four triples in a postseason contest since 1903.
The D-backs added another run in the eighth on Jeff Mathis’ bunt before turning to Fernando Rodney to close out the game. Rodney did yield a run in the ninth, but that was all the Rockies could muster.
Andrew Chafin picked up the win for Arizona, and Jon Gray was dealt the loss. Gray went just 1 1/3 innings with four earned runs on seven hits, while Arizona starter Zack Greinke yielded four earned runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.
The D-backs jumped out to an early 6-0 advantage before the Rockies rallied back with four runs in the top of the fourth to knock Grienke out of the game.
Arizona opens the National League Division Series Friday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. It is Arizona’s first trip to the NLDS since 2011 – when they lost in five games to the Brewers.
“What I’ve talked about with these players over the past couple of days is you have to go out and earn things,” said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. “The records, the matchups, the success, the failures – it doesn’t matter. Everything is a brand new season. This is the start of season two for us.”