PHOENIX — Before Wednesday night’s 11-8 National League Wild Card victory over the Colorado Rockies, Archie Bradley had just one request for Arizona Diamondbacks fans:
“I want to see pandemonium. I don’t want to see people sitting down.”
As he rounded second base and headed for third in the bottom of the seventh inning, Bradley looked toward the stands as 48,000-plus at Chase Field erupted much like they did during Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
In full pandemonium.
Holding on to a 6-5 lead, Bradley came to bat in an unlikely scenario in which the Diamondbacks desperately needed insurance runs after giving up a 6-0 advantage. Bradley responded much like he did in big moments throughout the regular season. Except this time, with a bat in his hand.
“The whole at-bat, the triple, the moment, it’s something I’ll never forget,” Bradley said. “It’s the type of at-bat you dream about. Being a guy in the bullpen and getting to have a big at-bat … in a Wild Card game with guys on base, and then to drive them in is a moment I’ll never forget.”
Bradley’s two-RBI triple only to be followed by allowing two home runs in the ensuing inning, nearly exemplifies the type of journey that the Diamondbacks have gone on this season.
From 69-93 in 2016 to 93-69 in 2017, this Diamondbacks team has been full of surprises. But on Wednesday night, even the first ever triple by a relief pitcher in a postseason game wasn’t enough to surprise everyone.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not totally shocked,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Archie is built for that type of moment. It’s his personality. He steps up and he loves to be in that environment and it translated.”
The environment at Chase Field was electric from the first pitch. Following a one-two-three inning from starter Zack Greinke, the Diamondbacks responded in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back hits from David Peralta and Ketel Marte.
Paul Goldschmidt stepped up to the plate with runners on first and third and he delivered to the full capacity crowd at Chase Field, what they had been patiently waiting for since 2011. A memorable moment from the face of their franchise and the front runner for the National League MVP.
Goldschmidt took a first pitch at the letters from Colorado starter Jon Gray and deposited it into the left field seats, sending the Diamondbacks fans into a full on frenzy.
What highlighted the night for Arizona and perhaps has the entire season is the nature in which every player understood his role and backed up the player behind them. It’s a message that has been heard around the Diamondbacks clubhouse all season long and is one that they’re leaning heavily on this postseason.
“We were there for each other. It was a constant throughout the year,” Bradley said earlier in the week. “It’s the best group I’ve been around where you know, guys just understand their role. The focus has always been about having each other’s back. That’s been the biggest thing. We’ve had each other’s back from day one.”
And as Bradley and the Diamondbacks now look towards the Los Angeles Dodgers and the NLDS, the unity and fight among each other will continue to be relied on heavily. After all, it’s postseason baseball and without family and a deep connection, the rest appears mute.
That connection also extends to the fans who showed up for Arizona’s first postseason win in six years. Now, it’s all about reeling them in and bringing them along for the ride.
“We’re not asking for a lot, we love the support,” Bradley said. “But why not make Chase Field a place that teams come into and they’re scared of it? Why not make Chase Field a place people don’t want to come and play?
“This is just the first step of it. I want people to get excited about the vibe we have going here. It’s a winning vibe.”