The fun part about being a baseball fan and writing about baseball is the quirky facts that pop up after a season ends. Like, for instance, did you know that the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays only hit five triples all season? Yep. It’s the fewest triples hit by a team in MLB history—and they were out-tripled by 22 individual players.
In Wednesday night’s exciting National League Wild Card game, the victorious Arizona Diamondbacks hit four triples en route to their victory against the Colorado Rockies. That’s right: They nearly out-tripled or at least nearly tied the 2017 Blue Jays in a single game.
The three-base hit knocked Rockies starter Jon Gray out of the game and put Arizona up 4-0.
Triple No. 2 occurred in the fourth inning and it was by none other than Marte who tripled from the other side of the plate because he was facing the lefty Chris Rusin.
This time Marte didn’t knock anyone out of the game; he also didn’t drive in any runs and he ended up stranded on third as Paul Goldschmidt grounded out and, after the Rockies intentionally walked J.D. Martinez, Jake Lamb popped out to end the inning.
The action between triples two and three was pretty fun. The Diamondbacks were up 6-0 and it looked like the Rockies’ season was over. Zack Greinke was sharp and everything seemed to be going Arizona’s way. Then the top of the fourth happened. The Rockies exacted a bit of revenge and quickly knocked Greinke out of the game after scoring four runs.
When the bottom of the seventh started, the Rockies had pulled within a run. But the Diamondbacks were threatening, only manager Torey Lovullo chose to keep reliever Archie Bradley in to face Pat Neshek with two on and two out. And this was after he inexplicably kept in Jeff Mathis to bat against Pat Neshek. Mathis struck out to the surprise of no one watching. Now, If you’ve never watched a baseball game while also logged onto Twitter, you must try it. It’s pretty incredible. Especially if you follow as many baseball writers and fans as I happen to follow. Anytime anything out of the ordinary happens, you’ll see a stream of tweets saying the same thing but in a slightly different syntax. One such moment occurred when reliever Archie Bradley strode to the plate.
“Why is Bradley still in there?”
“What is Lovullo doing?”
“Why isn’t he taking him out?”
“What the hell is happening right now?”
You see, Bradley is not known as a pitcher who rakes. Heading into the Wild Card game, Bradley was 6 for 61 for his career at the plate with no extra base hits. His chances of doing anything significant were quite slim and it looked as though the Rockies would get out of the inning with a chance to possibly tie the game in the top of the eighth.
Then, something wondrous happened. Neshek threw a pitch that got way too much of the plate and hung there as if to say, “HIT ME ARCHIE!” and did he ever. The ball split the outfielders, went all the way to the fence in left-center and Bradley chugged three-quarters of the way around the bases for the first triple of his career.
And Twitter exploded.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
“BASEBALL IS THE BEST!”
(Yes, when people get excited on Twitter, the majority of their tweets are in all caps. It’s kind of obnoxious but we can’t help that.)
Bradley celebrated at third base, his teammates celebrated in the dugout and the Diamondbacks extended their lead to 8-5.
Three triples. That’s pretty incredible for one game. Especially one with stakes as high as this one. But the Diamondbacks weren’t done. Neither were the Rockies.
If baseball fans were disappointed that the Yankees and Twins' Wild Card game was over by the sixth inning, they could at least be excited about the NL Wild Card game being one of those games that you think might be over but isn’t. Not by a long shot.
After his triple, Bradley went back out to the mound to pitch and, following a CarGo ground out, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit back-to-back jacks to pull the Rockies to within a run. Again. Now it was 8-7. Bradley had only given up four home runs all year and he had only given up one in his previous 51 innings pitched.
That was as close as the Rockies would get.
In the bottom of the eighth, Paul Goldschmidt hit a single off Carlos Estevez and chased him out of the game. Greg Holland replaced Estevez and Martinez grounded into a force out—Goldschmidt was out at second. Holland surrendered a single to Jake Lamb and Martinez advanced to second.
When A.J. Pollock was at the plate, Holland uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Lamb and Martinez to second and third. Then Pollock joined the party and hit the last triple of the night. It went to center field, it scored two runs and it pretty much sealed the win for the Diamondbacks.
So baseball fans have a new fun fact to talk about now that this game is in the books. Archie Bradley joins Dontrelle Willis, Tom Glavine, Dutch Ruether, Babe Ruth and Cy Young as the only pitchers with postseason triples and he’s also the first relief pitcher to ever do it.