The Arizona Diamondbacks overcame a do-or-die situation last night and kept their postseason dreams alive by scorching the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 during Game Three of the National Leagues Division Series.
And it was largely 'cause of the hitting heroics of Paul Goldschmidt. The rookie slugger provided two hits and five runs batted in, including the highlight of the night (and maybe the entire season): a grand-slam in the bottom of the fifth inning that blew open the game.
As a result, Arizona forced a Game Four in the NLDS against the Brewers, which takes place tonight at Chase Field.
Goldschmidt was one of many banes to the existence of Milwaukee pitcher Shaun Marcum, who seemed to do nothing but sweat, look frustrated, argue with his catcher, and give up hits for five innings. In a instant, Goldie made Marcum regret loading the bases (including intentionally walking Miguel Montero) and caused the pitcher to toss his glove in the air in frustration. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke pulled him from the game shortly after the grand slam.
Here's another look at Goldschmidt's crowning moment from last night:
Goldschmidt and Montero got to Marcum early on, knocking in back-to-back RBI in the first inning to put the Diamondbacks on top 2-0. In fact, Arizona's hitting drought during the first two games of the NLDS became a torrential downpour last night to the tune of 11 hits.
Meanwhile, pitcher Josh Collmenter continued to flummox Milwaukee with his overhand throwing style, giving up only two hits (including a home run to Ryan Braun) during the game.
Brewers star Prince Fielder was a non-factor in the game. Collmenter "accidentally" hit him with a pitch in the first, popped him out in the third, and struck him out in the sixth.
After two frustrating games for the Diamondbacks, seeing the arrogance of Fielder snuffed out with a strike out was pure joy, as was watching Goldschmidt clear the bases. Here's hoping they've saved some for two more wins, since they're still a hairsbreadth away from elimination and still have plenty of do-or-die baseball left to play.
In essence, it all comes down to this: Win tonight and they force Game Five on Friday at Miller Park. Lose, and its sayonara until the spring.
They've got their work cut out for them, as no National League team ever has come back from being down 0-2 to win a divisional series. To borrow a phrase from the Boston Red Sox's incredible comeback in 2004, Arizona has to make history, or be history.
Some of their fate will be revealed tonight. Joe Saunders (12-13, 3.69 ERA) will be on the mound for the D-Backs while Randy Wolf (13-10, 3.69 ERA) gets the ball for the Brewers. First pitch is at 6:37 p.m. TV: TBS. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For tickets and more info, visit www.dbacks.com.