D-backs Short Hops: Game 1
Webb outdueled by Francis as D-backs lose home-field edge
PHOENIX -- Fielding Game 1 of the NLCS on a short hop...In < 25 words ...
Brandon Webb couldn't repeat his recent success against Colorado and the D-backs couldn't capitalize on late-inning opportunities, dropping Game 1 of the NLCS. Frozen moment
After Rockies starter Jeff Francis virtually silenced the sellout crowd through six innings, D-backs fans erupted with shrill boos to show their displeasure with a seventh-inning interference call. Making an attempt to break up a potential double play, Arizona right fielder Justin Upton slid over the second base bag and raised his forearm to knock down Colorado second baseman Kaz Matsui. Upton was called out as was Augie Ojeda at first because of the interference. The players were called off the field as play was then briefly suspended due to objects being thrown onto the field. Big number
49 -- When Webb needed 49 pitches to get through the second and third innings alone, it set the stage for D-backs manager Bob Melvin to have to make the call to his bullpen earlier than he had hoped. The pitches in those two innings accounted for exactly half of the total number Webb would throw on Thursday and forced him from taking the mound in the seventh inning for just the second time in his last six starts. Game balls
With a first-inning double and a sixth-inning infield single, Byrnes distinguished himself as the only D-backs player to finish with two hits in the game. The Arizona left fielder also picked up his team's only RBI.
Though Webb couldn't make it two victories in a row against Colorado, he did shut down the Rockies after the third, effectively keeping his team within striking distance. Webb faced the minimum in his final three innings of work, retiring eight in a row at one point.
Nippert bounced back from a rocky end of September to pitch a scoreless inning of relief in the first postseason appearance of his career. The Arizona rookie struck out two, while allowing just one hit in the eighth.
Sense of October
After averaging 28,708 fans during the regular season, the D-backs played in front of a lively sellout crowd of 48,142 at Chase Field. Though Phoenix has often been criticized as not being a baseball town, the Arizona fans showed October-type intensity. On their feet when Arizona threatened offensively and piercingly vocal when upset with calls, D-backs fans showed that baseball can thrive in the desert.
4 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 5 LOB
Comment: Drew came to bat as the potential tying run with two on in the fifth and then as the potential tying run two innings later with the bases loaded. Neither time was Drew able to come through with a clutch two-out RBI hit.
1 IP, 3 Ks
Comment: The right-handed reliever continued to show why Melvin wants him to have the ball late in the game. He punched three consecutive strikeouts, giving Pena his third scoreless postseason appearance in three attempts.
"There's grinding in this clubhouse. We've done this before and come back from defeats. We have to come back tomorrow just like it's a regular season game. We have to bounce back." -- Ojeda
The task of salvaging a two-game split at home will fall heavily on the arm of Doug Davis, who will take the mound for the D-backs in Game 2 of the NLCS at Chase Field on Friday night. However, history suggests that the D-backs will have an uphill climb in attempting to secure the franchise's second trip to the World Series. Only three of the last 15 teams to lose the first game of the NLCS have gone on to win the series.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.