Relive the drama of a high-pressure seventh inning with these five key moments
Every winner-takes-all Wild Card Game brings tension from start to finish. Every pitch potentially has a huge impact on whether a team's season continues or comes to an end. Even within a stressful game, some moments stick out as particularly tense and pivotal. In Tuesday night's NL Wild Card Game, the entire bottom of the seventh inning provided drama as the Rockies tried to hold on to a narrow 1-0 lead over the Cubs.
Let's relive that drama by looking back at five key plays from the inning. Just a warning: it's not for the faint of heart.
Albert Almora Jr. singles to center field
Charlie Blackmon may have saved a run in the second inning when he chased down a Willson Contreras line drive in the right-center-field gap. But, in the seventh inning, Almora hit a ball straight to center that somehow landed just in front of the Rockies center fielder.
Trevor Story's diving catch
With the Cubs threatening after Almora's single, Daniel Murphy had a chance to even up the game. For a moment, it looked like he delivered a key hit with a line drive to the left side of the infield ... but Story was not about to let that happen:
Adam Ottavino is wild in his first at-bat
Ottavino came out of the bullpen for Kyle Freeland to use his slider against the right-handed Contreras. He did just that and immediately added to the drama of the inning by throwing his first pitch to the backstop.
It didn't immediately get much better for the reliever as he walked Contreras on five pitches.
Catcher's interference loads the bases
Somehow, things got even crazier from the wild pitch and walk. Initially, it appeared that Ottavino had induced a ground ball from pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella to end the inning. However, Drew Butera's glove got in the way of his bat for a catcher's interference, allowing the Cubs to load the bases with two outs.
Catchers interference sucks because there's a base runner, you get charged with an error AND someone just whacked your hand with a bat pic.twitter.com/FxnJvpyOzf- Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) October 3, 2018
Ottavino throws his fastest pitch of the season to strike out Jason Heyward
While Ottavino is known for his slider, it was his fastball that proved pivotal Tuesday. With the bases loaded and two outs, he reached back for a 97-mph fastball to get the final out. It was his fastest pitch of the season.
Adam Ottavino's pitch to strike out Jason Heyward was tied for his hardest pitch of the year. 🔥🔥🔥- Daren Willman (@darenw) October 3, 2018
Freeland was understandably excited to see his win remain intact for the moment:
Even though we now know the Cubs tied the game the following inning, we're still sweating reliving the intensity of the bottom of the seventh.