Three bags, four times; and you would not believe who got in on all the fun for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Spirited reliever 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 on Wednesday night.
“After today, I think pretty much I’ve seen everything,” first-year Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “This was an incredible game.”
As he watched his top reliever rounding second base, Lovullo said he thought: “Please stop there,” but that is not Bradley.
“That’s just kind of who I am,” Bradley said. “I don’t know any other way to play, so I was going to run as hard as I could until they told me to stop.”
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 tired from hustling around the bases and shouting in excitement to giddy teammates.
However, 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 it away.
“Right away all hell broke loose,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “From then on it was a heavyweight fight.”
Arizona advanced to a best-of-five division series against National League West champions the Dodgers, a team the Diamondbacks beat the past six times they played.
Game 1 is tonight in Los Angeles.
“Look, the Dodgers got on a tremendous run there, and I think they were steamrolling teams and intimidating teams, and I don’t think we have that mentality,” Lovullo said. “We love that battle mindset. We love that challenge.”
The Diamondbacks became the first team with four triples in a post-season game since the Boston Americans (now the Red Sox) twice hit five during the first World Series back in 1903 against Pittsburgh.
It was that kind of a crazy night in the desert as two NL West foes slugged it out. Daniel Descalso also homered for the Diamondbacks, and Ketel Marte tripled twice.
“That’s one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of, if not the best,” Goldschmidt said.
Bradley, a high-energy setup man recruited to play quarterback at Oklahoma, went one for four at the plate this season to raise his career batting average to .098. With two outs in the seventh, he drove a 3-1 pitch from Pat Neshek to deep left-center to give Arizona an 8-5 cushion.
It was his first extra-base hit in the majors and the first triple by a reliever in post-season history.
Already a fan favorite for his bushy beard and late-inning relief work, Bradley 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 out Arizona’s first playoff game since 2011.
Jake Lamb tied a Diamondbacks post-season record with four hits, all singles, and scored three times.
Jonathan Lucroy doubled twice, scored two runs and drove in one for the Rockies in their first playoff appearance since 2009.
Marte, who moved to Arizona with pitcher Taijuan Walker from Seattle for Jean Segura in an off-season deal, became the first player to triple twice in a post-season 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 had not even scored in the past three, but the Diamondbacks ended that before their first out.
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