NL Wildcard: Bradley’s 2-RBI triple sends D-backs to NLDS
PHOENIX — Relief pitcher Archie Bradley hit a stunning triple in the seventh inning, driving in two runs with one of four three-baggers by Arizona that sent the Diamondbacks past the Colorado Rockies 11-8 in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night.
Paul Goldschmidt launched an early three-run homer and the Diamondbacks built a 6-0 lead before ace Zack Greinke faltered. Colorado climbed back into it and cut it to 8-7 when Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit back-to-back homers in the eighth off Bradley, perhaps exhausted from hustling around the bases and shouting in excitement to giddy teammates.
But then A.J. Pollock knocked in two runs with Arizona’s fourth triple, this one off closer Greg Holland, as the Diamondbacks scored three times in their half of the eighth to finally put away a wild game.
Arizona moved on to a best-of-five Division Series against the NL West champion Dodgers, a team the Diamondbacks beat the last six times they played. Game 1 is Friday night in Los Angeles.
Arizona became the first team with four triples in a postseason game since the Boston Americans (now Red Sox) twice hit five during the first World Series back in 1903 against Pittsburgh.
It was that kind of crazy night in the desert as the two NL West foes slugged it out. Daniel Descalso also homered for the Diamondbacks, and Ketel Marte tripled twice.
Bradley, the spirited reliever who had one hit in four at-bats all season, knocked Pat Neshek’s 3-1 pitch to deep left-center with two outs in the seventh for the first triple by a reliever in postseason history.
The lanky pitcher, a fan favorite with a bushy beard, regrouped from the two solo homers he gave up to get the final two outs of the eighth with the Diamondbacks clinging to a one-run lead.
Fernando Rodney allowed a run in the ninth before closing it out.
Jonathan Lucroy doubled twice, scored two runs and drove in one for the Rockies in their first postseason appearance since 2009.
Jake Lamb tied an Arizona postseason record with four hits, all singles, and scored three times.
Marte, who came to Arizona with pitcher Taijuan Walker from Seattle for Jean Segura in an offseason deal, became the first player to triple twice in a postseason game since Mariano Duncan did it for Philadelphia against Atlanta in the 1993 NL Championship Series.
The home team won for just the second time in the six NL wild-card games since the one-game format was adopted in 2012. The hosts hadn’t even scored in the last three, but the Diamondbacks ended that before their first out.
Goldschmidt, in an 0-for-17 slump to end the regular season, hit the first pitch he saw from ineffective starter Jon Gray into the left-field seats for a three-run shot.
Greinke blanked the Rockies on one hit through three innings but never made it through the fourth.
Colorado, known for its power at the plate, got back into it with small ball — five hits, four of them singles. Lucroy’s two-out RBI double followed by pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista’s run-scoring single made it 6-4, and Greinke was finished. He allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Left-hander Robbie Ray, a 15-game winner during the regular season, came on for his first relief appearance in three years and threw two shutout innings before giving up a leadoff double to Lucroy just below the home run line in straightaway center in the seventh. Lucroy went to third on a wild pitch before Ray fanned Ian Desmond.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo replaced Ray with another lefty, ex-Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, to face NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon, who put down a bunt that brought Lucroy home and cut the lead 6-5.
The 25-year-old Gray was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his previous five starts, but the Diamondbacks were up 3-0 on him before a good share of the 48,803 in the stands settled into their seats. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings.
David Peralta led off with the first of his three singles and Marte followed with another.
That brought up Goldschmidt, who was 0 for 11 with five strikeouts again Gray. The first pitch was a hanging curve and Goldschmidt waited on it, then sent it sailing into the stands.