The Arizona Diamondbacks rode a three-run home run from Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning and staved of several rallies to beat the Colorado Rockies 11-8 in the National League wild card game on Wednesday.
The game featured several memorable moments in front of 48,803 fans at Chase Field in Phoenix. That, in itself, was a surprised after Arizona built a 6-0 lead in the first inning with ace Zack Grienke on the mount.
But Grienke did not have his best stuff, and Colorado steadily chipped away at the early deficit.
Reliever Archie Bradley came on to record the final out of the seventh inning with Arizona clinging to a 6-5 lead. He then hit a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the inning to give the Diamondbacks a three-run cushion.
It was the first triple by a reliever in the postseason since Babe Ruth hit one in the 1918 World Series – and Ruth did so after starting in left field before moving to the mound.
In true wild card fashion, however, Bradley served up back-to-back home runs to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story in the top of the eighth inning as the Rockies trimmed the margin back to one.
“I knew I wasn’t as sharp and I was going to give up some homers, so I needed a little cushion to forgive myself a little bit,” said Bradley. “But yeah, you know, these are the type of moments you live for and these are the things you dream about. An eighth-inning guy getting a triple in the Wild Card Game to give us two runs. It’s just unbelievable. I want to give a shoutout to this crowd, too. Our fans were amazing tonight.”
Bradley was able to recover to retire the Rockies from there, and Colorado extended the lead again to 11-7 with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Closer Fernando Rodney gave up a run in the ninth inning, but was never in danger of blowing the lead as the Diamondbacks moved onto the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rockies starter Jon Gray lasted just 1 1/3 innings, giving up four earned runs and seven hits while striking out two. Pat Neshek relieved him, only to give up two runs, also in 1 1/3 innings. Colorado pitchers surrendered 11 runs on 17 hits, including two home runs.
“Nobody thought we’d be in this position, and we were,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “As the game went on, we were right there … but it didn’t happen.”
NOTES: Bradley allowed just four home runs during the regular season. … Arizona improved to 6-0 in win-or-go-home games in the postseason. … Goldschmitdt hit .171 in September and closed the regular season in an 0-for-17 slump. … The Diamondbacks set a postseason record with four triples in a single game.
UP NEXT: The Dodgers will start left-hander Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. The Diamondbacks have yet to name a starter. Greinke threw 58 pitches in 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday, while No. 2 starter Robbie Ray recorded seven outs in relief. … The Diamondbacks were 11-8 against the Dodgers during the regular season.