The combination of Archie Bradley and Fernando Rodney has closed out wins all year for Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray.
The script held true – with a couple of caveats – in the one-game-takes-all National League Wild Card on Wednesday in the Diamondbacks’ 11-8 win over the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field before 48,803 fans.
The Diamondbacks had to use both of their top starters to get through to the next round and Bradley added a little amendment to his contributions in helping Arizona to Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium.
He threw 1 1/3 innings before handing off to Rodney, but Bradley’s two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning to break open a one-run game was a new wrinkle, cementing one of the lasting images – Bradley splitting the left-center gap and sliding into third before looking into the dugout and going nuts – in Dbacks history.
“It’s something you dream about,” Bradley said. “Getting an at-bat in the Wild Card game in the seventh inning with two guys on – you can’t make that stuff up. I was just trying to have a good at bat and drive one run in. Then when I saw it I just wanted to score.”
Bradley has had a breakout season in becoming one of the game’s top relievers after a slow start to his career as a starter. The big hit just adds to the lore about Bradley’s 2017.
“I was still in shock when everyone else was celebrating,” Goldschmidt said. “You are hoping and praying for something good to happen and then he does it. The chances of that happening is so slim.”
Rockies manager Bud Black said the hit by Bradley is why baseball is unpredictability at its best.
“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.”
The Rockies kept pressing the Diamondbacks and got back into the game throughout with a four-run fourth inning that forced Greinke out of the game in 3 2/3 innings and then back-to-back home runs off by Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story off Bradley.
Ray, the assumed starter for Game 1 against the Dodgers, if he wasn’t used, went 2 1/3 innings and allowed a run before Bradley, and Rodney closed out the victory.
The Diamondbacks got it started early against the Rockies’ John Gray as Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run home run in the first inning off the right-hander after going 0-for-11 in their previous battles.
“I was just trying to get the run in from third,” said Goldschmidt. “I had a lot of chances in the next couple of at-bats. I didn’t get the job done, so I was glad to get it done the first time. You’re just trying to get on the board there, and we were able to score, and the guys kept scoring.”
Ketel Marte had a run-scoring triple, his first of two, in the second and Daniel Descalso added a two-run home run in the third for a 6-0 lead.
The Rockies bullpen slowed the Diamondbacks offense until the eighth inning when A.J. Pollock tripled to score J.D. Martinez, who beat out a double play ball to extend the inning, and Jake Lamb, who had four hits, before Jeff Mathis’ bunt scored Pollock.
“The team needed it. With the Rockies you feel the need to keep tacking on runs,” Pollock said. “We added a few runs a couple of times. It was awesome and hopefully it carries over to the next series.”
The Dbacks will play two games in Los Angeles before coming back to Chase Field on Monday.
“They are the best team in the league so it will be a good challenge,” Goldschmidt said. “We will just keep battling. That’s what it will take.”
Lamb said the Diamondbacks, who were expected to fly out late Wednesday and have a workout in Los Angeles on Thursday, will be ready to go.
“We believe it is our time and we are the better team just like every clubhouse out there,” Pollock said.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.