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10/15/2007 12:48:00 PM

NLCS: Game, set, match

By Gennaro Filice

Well, D-backs, guess it's time to start lining up the pregame shots ...

With last night's 4-1 loss, Arizona faces a 3-0 deficit in the series. Only one team in history has ever won a series after going down 3-0: the Red Sox, who achieved said task by shocking the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. According to first baseman Kevin Millar, the self-proclaimed "Idiots" of Boston fueled this unprecedented comeback by taking pregame whiskey shots. So, Arizona, there's your blueprint.

But, let's be honest: This Diamondbacks team is nowhere near as talented as the '04 Sawx. And taking into consideration the Rockies' recent run, the D-backs have dug themselves into a hole that no amount of Jack Daniels can pull them out of.

Colorado is in the midst of a ridiculous month-long stretch. In baseball, when you win five of six, you're hot. When you win 10 of 11, you're sizzling. And when you win 20 of 21 ... well ... I don't know if there's a word in the English dictionary that does justice to that kind of a run. Not to mention, the Rockies have gone on this tear with the stakes at their absolute highest. So, what are the chances that that Colorado goes 20-1 in the clutch and then loses four straight games? Slim and none. And slim left the yard off of the bat of Yorvit Torrealba at around 10:40 p.m. EDT Sunday night.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Torrealba officially revved up the fat lady with one of the most electric knocks in Coors Field's brief history. The Rockies catcher came up to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second in a 1-1 ballgame. Diamondbacks pitcher Livan Hernandez got ahead of Torrealba with a first-pitch fastball for a called strike and then put him in a 1-2 hole with a Mickey Mouse curveball that didn't even register on the stadium radar gun (TBS had it at 58 MPH).

"It just made me laugh," Torrealba said of the pitch. "It looked more like a softball [pitch]."

But Torrealba battled back into a full count and fouled off a 60 MPH curveball. Then Hernandez made a mistake, catching too much of a plate with an 82 MPH fastball, and Torrealba sent it 402 feet into the left-field stands.

"It's the last pitch I want to throw," Hernandez said. "Yorvit is one of my best friends in baseball and I know he can handle the fastball inside very good. It's just the situation. I'd thrown everything: foul, foul. I know he can hit a fastball, trust me. And he hit it out."

The scene that followed was straight out of Hollywood: With the rain pouring down in buckets and fresh pyrotechnics lighting up the Denver sky, Torrealba fist-pumped his way around the bases as the sellout crowd of 50,137 went into a frenzy.

Let's say the Rockies do finish off the series with another win tonight. They will have gone from 4 1/2 games out of the wild card to the World Series in the span of 22 games. With everything that was at stake, that would easily go down as one of the greatest runs in sports history.

  • Last night was definitely the pinnacle of Torrealba's career, but he took a long, hard road to get there.

  • Doug Haller describes the grim scene in Arizona's lockerroom after Game 3. According to Haller, he D-backs "seemed like a team that knows its season is about to end."

  • While Torrealba was the unquestioned hero of Game 3, the bullpen has played the role throughout the playoffs. As the Denver Post reports, title teams always boast a steady bullpen.

  • Arizona first baseman Tony Clark says the D-backs were still in this. And considering he saw Boston's amazing comeback first hand (as a member of the '04 Yankees), he may know what he's talking about.

  • In his playoff blog, Colorado first baseman Todd Helton gives it up for the Rockies fans.

  • Arizona's Game 4 starter, Micah Owings, claims he's ready to roll, even though he hasn't toed the rubber in 17 days.

  • The man arrested outside of Coors Field for trying to scalp 60 NLCS tickets reached an agreement with police to donate the tickets to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.


    posted by SI.com | View comments |  
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