D-backs rattle Brewers, force Game 5
Counted out by most everyone else, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in position to complete another comeback. And this one could be the greatest of the bunch.
Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam, Chris Young had the first two-homer game in Arizona's postseason history and Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers 10-6 Wednesday night to force Game 5 in the NL division series.
''We're not going to give up, even when we're down 2-0,'' said Young, who drove in three runs. ''In the clubhouse, we still believed we could do it. At the time our goal was to get back to Milwaukee. We've reached that, so it's a toss-up now. We're going to be ready to go.''
A day after rolling over the Brewers 8-1, the Diamondbacks struck quickly and often in Game 4, scoring five runs in the first inning off Randy Wolf. The Diamondbacks became the second team — with the 1977 Dodgers — to hit grand slams in consecutive playoff games.
Arizona evened the series at 2-all and sent it back to Milwaukee for the decisive game Friday. It will be a rematch of Game 1 between 21-game winner Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks and fellow right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Written off by many after being outscored 13-5 in the first two games, baseball's best rally team — 48 comeback wins during the regular season — has put itself in position to become just the eighth team overall to win a best-of-five series after trailing 0-2.
''We had confidence all year, we had confidence when we were down 0-2,'' Roberts said. ''Anything can happen, that's why you play this set of five.''
Aaron Hill hit a solo shot for Arizona's first four-homer game in the postseason. Pinch hitter Collin Cowgill added a two-run single and the bullpen held on after a less-than-crisp outing by starter Joe Saunders, preventing Milwaukee from winning a postseason series for the first time since reaching the 1982 World Series.
Of the four opening-round playoff series, three are going to Game 5. Detroit visits the New York Yankees on Thursday night and St. Louis is at Philadelphia on Friday night. The only other time a trio of division matchups went the distance was 2001, the year Arizona won the World Series.
''This team is resilient,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ''We're going to play hard and I expect this team to have a real good game on Friday.''
The NL West champion Diamondbacks punctuated their worst-to-first finish with grand slams in their final two home games of the regular season, then kept slamming 'em at Chase Field in the playoffs.
Paul Goldschmidt was the star in Game 3, becoming the third rookie ever to hit a grand slam in the playoffs. He had the crowd buzzing when he strode to the plate against Wolf with the bases loaded in the first inning. He couldn't come, through; Wolf struck him out looking.
Roberts sure did, though, lining his second grand slam in four home games over the wall in left. The shot had the crowd roaring and got his teammates out of the dugout doing ''The Snake,'' a Miguel Montero-created move that involves cupping the right hand and making a striking motion — like, well, a snake head.
Roberts' drive made Arizona the first team in major league history to hit grand slams in four straight home games (regular and postseason), according to STATS LLC and the SABR home run log.
''In that situation, I just wanted to get on base, not try do anything too much,'' Roberts said. ''Just see a pitch in that I could drive and put a pretty good swing on it.''
Young followed with a shot to give the Diamondbacks back-to-back homers for the first time in their postseason history, then celebrated with a snake strike after putting Arizona up 5-1.
Wolf, 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA in two starts against Arizona during the regular season, lasted just two more innings after allowing seven runs on eight hits.
''I don't think it has anything to do with the D-backs,'' Roenicke said. ''I think Wolfy, when he gets in trouble, his location isn't there, and you saw that in the first inning.''
Cowgill pushed Arizona up 7-3 with a two-run single in the third, Hill hit his solo homer in the sixth and Young lifted a two-run shot in the seventh.
NOTES: With a solo homer in Game 1 and a grand slam in Game 2, Goldschmidt joined Shane Spencer (Yankees, 1998) to hit homers in his first two postseason games, according to information provided to the Diamondbacks by the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Despite a cool night outside — 79 degrees at game time — the roof at Chase Field remained closed. ... Ron Cey and Dusty Baker hit grand slams for the Dodgers in games 1 and 2 of the 1977 NLCS. ... The most recent team to rally from an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-five series was Boston against Oakland in the 2003 ALDS.