Arizona's 4 triples a first in postseason game since 1903
By Andrew Simon and Matt Kelly
It was the highest scoring Wild Card Game yet, and it was a game that lived up to its name.
The D-backs' 11-8 victory over the Rockies in Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game featured plenty of twists and turns, ultimately surpassing the Royals' 9-8, 12-inning triumph over the A's in the 2014 AL Wild Card Game for the most runs scored in any installment of this thrilling winner-take-all. The game also featured 30 combined hits, setting another Wild Card Game record.
In the end, the D-backs are advancing in the postseason for the first time since 2007. Standing in their way in the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile is another NL West rival -- the Dodgers -- with Game 1 set for Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET on TBS. In case you missed the roller-coaster ride -- or if you want to relive it all over again -- here's a look at some facts and figures you should know from Wednesday's game:
• With A.J. Pollock's two-run triple in the eighth inning that extended the D-backs' lead to 10-7, Arizona became only the second team to hit at least four triples in a postseason game. Back in the first World Series in 1903, the Boston Americans (later Red Sox) twice hit five three-baggers against the Pirates. The D-backs, however, are the first club to triple four times in a winner-take-all postseason matchup.
• Arizona's third triple was its least likely. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, reliever Archie Bradley tripled off Pat Neshek to score a pair of runs and extend Arizona's lead back to three. Bradley's triple was just the seventh ever hit by a pitcher in the postseason -- by six pitchers -- and the first by a reliever.
• The only other pitchers to triple in the postseason since 1920 are Tom Glavine for the Braves in Game 7 of the 1996 NL Championship Series against the Cardinals and Dontrelle Willis for the Marlins in Game 4 of the 2003 NLDS against the Giants. Glavine is joined by fellow Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (1918) and Cy Young (1903) in this exclusive club.
• With his triple, Bradley joined three other relievers who recorded at least two RBIs in a postseason game: Michael Jackson for the Reds in Game 3 of the 1995 NLDS, Johnny Sain for the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1953 World Series and Rosy Ryan for the Giants in Game 3 of the 1924 World Series.
• Ketel Marte extended Arizona's lead to 4-0 with his RBI triple in the second. Though there was no throw to third base, Marte still motored from home to third in just 11.26 seconds, per Statcast™, to set a record for the fastest triple by a D-backs player in 2017.
That benchmark didn't last long, however, as Marte's second triple in the fourth inning clocked in at just 11.1 seconds. Not only was that the fastest triple for Arizona this year; it was the second-fastest triple by any D-backs hitter since Statcast™ technology was introduced in 2015.
• Marte's second triple made him the eighth player to hit two in the postseason and the first to do it in a Wild Card Game. The last player to accomplish the feat was the Phillies' Mariano Duncan in Game 3 of the 1993 NLCS against the Braves. That game was played on Oct. 9, 1993 -- three days before Marte was born. The switch-hitting Marte also is the first to triple from both sides of the plate in a postseason game.
Going deep in the desert
• The teams combined for four home runs (two apiece), which tied for the second-most home runs hit in a Wild Card Game ... behind Tuesday's 8-4 win for the Yankees, in which they and the Twins combined for five dingers. The only other time two teams combined for at least four homers in a Wild Card Game was the 2013 NL showdown between the Pirates and Reds. We've seen nine home runs hit through the first two games of this postseason, already putting 2017 on pace toward the all-time postseason record of 100 total round-trippers in 2004.
• Paul Goldschmidt's three-run homer off Rockies starter Jon Gray in the first inning provided an early lead for Arizona. It was the third career playoff homer for Goldschmidt, who went deep twice in the 2011 NLDS against the Brewers, the last playoff series the D-backs played, when Goldschmidt was a rookie. Coincidentally, one of those two big flies came off Zack Greinke, who started Wednesday night for Arizona.
• Arizona's Daniel Descalso, a former Rockie, widened the gap to 6-0 with a two-run shot off left-hander Tyler Anderson in the third inning. It was the third career postseason homer for Descalso, who also hit two for the 2012 Cardinals. In the regular season, Descalso is just a .235/.324/.341 career hitter against lefties, with five homers in 456 plate appearances. Two of those long balls did come this year, though.
• Regardless of whether running out the triple had anything to do with it, Bradley scuffled in the following half-inning, allowing back-to-back solo homers to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story that brought the Rockies back within a run. Bradley had allowed just four homers all season, including one over 51 innings in his final 47 appearances since May 31.
• Arenado and Story put up just the second pair of back-to-back home runs for the Rockies in the franchise's postseason history. The other instance came exactly 10 years earlier, when Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday went back-to-back in the first inning against the Phillies in Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS.
Those poor pitchers
• Greinke exited after 3 2/3 innings in his shortest start of 2017 and of his playoff career. He had never pitched fewer than five innings in the postseason, completing six or more frames in seven of nine starts while with the Brewers and Dodgers.
Greinke also allowed four runs, something he only did seven times in 32 regular-season starts.
• Still, Greinke had easily the longest outing among the four pitchers who got Wild Card Game starts this year, besting Gray (1 1/3 IP), the Twins' Ervin Santana (2 IP) and the Yankees' Luis Severino (1/3 IP). Over the previous five seasons of the current Wild Card Game format, only one start out of 20 -- Johnny Cueto's 3 1/3-inning outing for the Reds in 2013 -- did not last at least four innings. In each of the previous three years, the NL Wild Card Game winner got a shutout from its starter, with Madison Bumgarner doing it for the Giants in '14 and '16, and Jake Arrieta for the Cubs in '15.
• The teams combined to use 14 pitchers, and nine of them allowed at least one earned run. That tied a postseason record, previously set by the Indians and Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1999 ALDS, and the Cardinals and Rangers in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series.
• Arizona's Jorge De La Rosa faced one batter in the seventh inning, facing the team he pitched for from 2008-16. It was the first postseason appearance for the 36-year-old left-hander, who debuted in the Majors in '04 and has pitched 1,466 2/3 regular-season innings over 371 games (241 starts). He had been the longest-tenured big leaguer with no postseason experience.
• D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb finished with four hits and three runs scored, making him the first Arizona player to reach those benchmarks in a postseason game. Lamb is also the first hitter from any club to record those totals in a Wild Card Game.
• The Rockies' first playoff appearance since 2009 lasted just one game, and the franchise now has lost eight of its last nine postseason contests over three seasons, going back to Game 1 of the 2007 World Series against the Red Sox.