PHOENIX -- Archie Bradley has made his mark this year on the mound, but it was his work with the bat that made the difference in the D-backs' 11-8 win over the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday night at Chase Field.
Arizona advances to face Los Angeles in the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile, with Game 1 tonight at Dodger Stadium.
• NLDS, Game 1: Tonight, 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. MST on TBS
:: NL Wild Card Game coverage ::
With the D-backs clinging to a 6-5 lead Wednesday, Bradley came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with runners at first and second. Not wanting to take his setup man out of the game, manager Torey Lovullo let Bradley hit, and the right-hander rewarded his skipper's faith with a triple to left-center that scored a pair of runs and put Arizona up three runs.
Those runs were crucial after the Rockies scored a pair of runs off Bradley in the eighth.
"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."
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"Nobody would have thought [Bradley's triple] would happen, but that's the beauty of our game, when things like this happen," said Colorado manager Bud Black. "That's what makes this game special. Nobody could have predicted that. Again, that's why this game is so great."
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That the game was even close seemed to be unthinkable early on when the D-backs scored three runs in the first, one in the second and two more in the third to grab a 6-0 lead with ace Zack Greinke on the mound.
But Greinke was not at his best, and the Rockies got back into the game with a four-run fourth inning, chasing Greinke after 3 2/3 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Colorado's bullpen settled down after starter Jon Gray allowed four runs -- including Paul Goldschmidt's three-run homer in the first -- in just 1 1/3 innings.
"It was just a curveball, glove side, down, and I overthrew it," Gray said. "I tried to do too much."
Jonathan Lucroy scored from third on a sacrifice bunt by Charlie Blackmon in the seventh, pulling the Rockies to within a run at 6-5 before Bradley's key at-bat later in the inning.
Three more Arizona runs in the bottom of the eighth, two coming on A.J. Pollock's triple -- the postseason record-tying fourth of the game for the D-backs -- sealed the win. It was third time in postseason history a team had four triples and the first since 1903.
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"This ballpark, with big gaps, the ball can move quickly through the grass," said Lovullo. "I think triples in this ballpark don't totally surprise me. But if you compile four in one game, it's a little bit of a shock. After one day, I think I've seen everything, and this was an incredible game."
• Lovullo goes all-in to win Wild Card Game
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
What slump? Goldschmidt hit .171 in September, his worst month statistically in the big leagues, and he finished the year in an 0-for-17 slump. He also had to answer questions about his struggles against Gray, against whom he was 0-for-11 in his career, with five strikeouts. The narrative changed quickly in the first when Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer off Gray. That set the tone for the D-backs and immediately put Gray on the defensive.
"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."
That was close: After his triple, Bradley went out in the top of the eighth and allowed back-to-back one-out homers to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story to allow Colorado to pull within a run. After Gerardo Parra grounded out, pinch-hitter Pat Valaika doubled to right-center to put the tying run in scoring position. Bradley, though, managed to get Lucroy to fly to right to end the threat.
"I don't want to say it got easier, but as we climbed back into the game, it felt more like a game," said Black. "It felt more like, 'Hey, we're on to something. We've got a chance here to win this game.' Down, 6-0, with Greinke on the mound, that's long odds. But here come our guys fighting like hell all throughout the game. Even in the ninth, we kept going for our base hits. You just keep competing. That's what you do."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Maybe it was the adrenaline of the postseason, but Arizona outfielder J.D. Martinez set a personal best when he beat the relay throw on a potential double play in the eighth inning. Martinez went from home to first in 4.21 seconds, while his previous best time this year was 4.28 seconds. Martinez's sprint speed on the play was 28.6 feet/second and his max-effort average this year was 26.8 feet/second.
That little extra wound up paying off, because if Martinez had not been safe, the inning would have been over. Instead, it continued and the D-backs scored three runs to put the game away.
RARE LOSS FOR ROX
The Rockies lost just two regular-season games when scoring at least eight runs -- 15-12, at home against the Nationals on April 25, and 12-8, at Cincinnati on May 20.
"Everyone was really excited. I think it was first excitement and then maybe more disbelief. There was a picture, and I don't even know if I was cheering. I was in shock. It's an unbelievable job by him just battling. It wasn't easy on the mound. He gave up some homers, but he was able to get the big outs, too." -- Goldschmidt, on Bradley's triple
"When I got that [RBI] single in the ninth and I got to first base, I talked to [Goldschmidt]. He's been there for a long time, too, and only had one [postseason] experience, just like me. We were like, 'Whoever ends up going to the next round, you really deserve it.'" -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez
D-backs: Arizona now heads to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the NLDS tonight. The D-backs went 11-8 this season against the Dodgers, who topped Major League Baseball with 104 wins. It is Arizona's first appearance in the NLDS since 2011, when the D-backs lost to the NL Central champion Brewers in five games.