Backs to the wall: Arizona falls at Coors
Missed chances, one bad pitch lead to 0-3 NLCS deficit
DENVER -- The D-backs are still alive in this National League Championship Series, but after dropping Game 3 to the Rockies, 4-1, on Sunday night, their season is on life support.
Just one team in the history of baseball, the 2004 Red Sox, have ever come back and won a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, and the freight train that is this Rockies team has now won 20 of its last 21 games.
"The fact remains we're coming to the locker room and getting dressed for another ballgame," said veteran first baseman Tony Clark, who was on the 2004 Yankees team that was beat by the Red Sox. "So until that last out is made and they've won four and we haven't, I refuse to believe that we don't have an opportunity to win."
Opportunity has been a key word during this series for the D-backs, who have had their share of scoring chances but have simply not taken advantage. They were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position Sunday, making them 2-for-17 for the series, and that's why they've scored just four runs in the series.
"We've been battling throughout the last three games, and it just seems like we can't get that big hit with runners in scoring position," said infielder Augie Ojeda, who made an amazing bobbling and tumbling catch in the fourth inning. "We kept saying to ourselves that things are going to change, things are going to change, but it seemed like every time we had guys on base and hit the ball hard, it was right at somebody."
That was evident in the first inning, when Arizona's chance for a big inning was thwarted. Following back-to-back singles to start the game, Eric Byrnes hit a line drive back up the middle that Colorado starter Josh Fogg caught in self-defense and whirled to second to double off Chris Young. Clark then flew out to end the inning.
"[If] Byrnsie's ball goes up the middle [and] one run scored and [we had runners on] first and third, yeah maybe that changes things," Clark said. "At this point, we haven't gotten the hit at the right time or had a ball fall in when we've needed it. You just keep convincing yourself that the next time the opportunity arises, the ball will fall in."
In the bottom of the first, the D-backs found themselves down, 1-0, thanks to Matt Holliday's first homer of the series.
The D-backs hit into double plays in each of the first three innings and were unable to get on the scoreboard until Mark Reynolds homered off Fogg in the fourth to tie the game.
Livan Hernandez (1-1) changed speeds and kept the Rockies hitters off balance through the first five innings before things finally came apart in the sixth, thanks to the Rockies getting the big hit when they needed it.
Todd Helton led off that inning with a walk and one out later, Brad Hawpe lined a single to right to put runners at first and second. Hernandez, though, fanned Troy Tulowitzki for the second out and looked like he might escape the inning unscathed.
Hernandez jumped ahead of Yorvit Torrealba, 1-2, before Torrealba looked at two pitches and fouled another off to run the count to 3-2. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Torrealba blasted a 422-foot homer to left to break the game open.
"That was the whole game," catcher Miguel Montero said of the fastball that Torrealba hit. "We were one pitch away. Unfortunately he hit it good."
"It's the last pitch I want to throw," Hernandez said of the inside fastball Torrealba hit. "I know Tora is one of my best friends in baseball, and I know he can handle the fastball inside very good. In that situation, I throw everything and it's foul, foul, curveball, it's foul, and I tried to throw a fastball inside."
The hit seemed to take the starch out of the D-backs, who managed just one single the rest of the way.
"It's frustrating," Byrnes said. "You know it seems like it's been happening all series, but the Rockies played well tonight, they got the big hits when they needed them and Torrealba came up with that huge hit. I thought Livo pitched great, obviously up until that home run. He gave us a chance to win, our offense just didn't do anything. We're not going to win games if we don't get the hits in key situations."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.