Season series: Arizona won, 11-8.
What: The Colorado Rockies (87-75) take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (93-69) in the National League Wildcard game. Eleven of the games were decided by two runs or less.
Zack Greinke had already dispensed of the Rockies in 1-2-3 fashion in the top of the inning. The deficit was just 6-5 heading in to the 7th inning stretch. He allowed more than seven hits just four times in 20 starts this season, so this was a night where he just didn't have his best stuff. Gray's first pitch to Paul Goldschmidt was a hanging breaking ball nearly daring the All-Star to get a hit. He entered the postseason on an 0-for-17 skid.
That marked the end for Gray, who exited his first career postseason with a 27.00 ERA.
One inning later, the D-backs had knocked Gray from the ballgame. Center fielder Blackmon set a major league record for RBIs out of the leadoff spot, and led the NL in hitting, runs scored, triples and total bases while compiling an OPS of 1.000. There had been some question as to Marte's postseason availability. Detroit won all five of those games. The prowess Gray displayed to get the Rockies into the dance left him exhausted for the dance itself. And he delivered. In a big way. Chants of "Archie! Archie!"
It's called insurance, and the D-backs bought some in the eighth inning.
Not after the D-Backs got three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning off Rockies closer Greg Holland, who never really made it all the way back after a awful slump in August. Jeff Mathis plated Pollock with a surprise bunt that Holland couldn't field cleanly.
Unfortunately for Neshek, he wasn't able to corral Greinke's John Hancock at the All-Star Game, even though players often spend a decent chunk of time signing throughout the two-day Midsummer Classic events. Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story have homered four times apiece against Greinke. "I can't overthrow like that, I have to stay loose and execute pitches".
Trailing 6-0 at that point, Colorado put up four runs in the inning to get right back in the game. Ervin Santana allowed four runs in two innings for the Twins. Greinke was unable to complete the fourth inning.
The reason Iannetta should start - Wednesday's 11-run outburst notwithstanding - is Arizona will need his offense. 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. Since he began throwing a slider, he's 10-1 with 2.60 ERA in 14 games. The gaps are big.
"I think the innings and experience gained, you can't purchase, you have to live them", Colorado pitching coach Steve Foster told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
"That's one of the best games I've ever been a part of, if not the best", Goldschmidt said. Gray, who is 25, watched Greinke pitch growing up. In addition, he reached a three-ball count two times.
The Diamondbacks counter with the tandem of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and right fielder J.D. Of the 41 pitches he threw, 33 were in the zone. It was a strike, of course.
A moment of silence was held in remembrance of the 59 people killed in Sunday's Las Vegas shootings.
This will be an intense postseason matchup between two NL West foes who've undoubtedly had enough of each other during the regular season. Verlander excelled after being traded from Detroit to Houston, winning all five starts for his new team with a 1.06 ERA.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station. In fact, Gray has the potential to be the Rockies version of 2014 Madison Bumgarner, who carried the Giants on his back to a World Series championship.