D-backs Short Hops: Game 2
Arizona loses a heartbreaker after rallying for a tie in ninth
PHOENIX -- Fielding Game 2 of the NLCS on a short hop ...In < 25 words ...
Though they tied the game in the ninth inning, the D-backs watched Jose Valverde walk in the winning run for Colorado in the eleventh. Frozen moment
Down by one and with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, Eric Byrnes hit a ground ball to second that the Rockies attempted to turn into a game-ending double play. However, when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki received the throw from second baseman Kaz Matsui, second-base umpire Tom Hallion ruled that Tulowitzki was off the bag, which should have given Arizona runners on first and second with one out. Not realizing that he was ruled safe, however, Stephen Drew mistakenly headed for the dugout and was thrown out, quelling an opportune chance to finish off the comeback attempt. Big number
8 -- If it weren't for Doug Davis' masterful work in stranding eight runners in his five innings of work, the D-backs may never have had a chance to come back. Davis ended three different innings with a Rockies runner stranded at third and held the Colorado offense to 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Game balls
How is this for effective? Thirteen pitches from Pena in the seventh. Thirteen strikes. Arizona's reliable late-inning man struck out all three hitters he faced in the seventh, which ran his streak to six consecutive strikeouts in the series. That set an LCS record. Pena also pitched a scoreless eighth to give him five scoreless innings this postseason.
Davis deserved a better fate than picking up the first postseason loss of his career, as he allowed just one earned run for the first time since Sept. 4. Davis' contributions wouldn't be limited to the mound, either. Though he hadn't recorded an extra-base hit since 2005, Davis led off the third with a double and would eventually come around and score Arizona's only run until the ninth inning.
Byrnes came through with the game-tying groundout in the bottom of the ninth, legging out what had the potential of being a game-ending double play. His ninth-inning RBI came after he popped out with one out and two on in the fifth.
Sense of October
Though manager Bob Melvin wouldn't refer to Game 2 as a must-win one for the D-backs, the way in which he managed his bullpen suggested the magnitude of the game. Melvin wanted the game in the hands of his three reliable relievers. After watching Pena roll through the top of the Rockies order in the seventh, Melvin called on Pena to return to the mound in the eighth to pitch two innings of work for the first time since July 28. Brandon Lyon then pitched a scoreless ninth before Valverde came in for the 10th. Unfortunately for Arizona, Valverde didn't have the same success as Pena and Lyon.
4 AB, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 BB
Comment: After connecting for just three hits in 28 previous postseason at-bats, Clark led off the second and fourth with base hits. He reached base for a third time in the fifth with a walk and would have had a game-tying RBI hit in the seventh if it hadn't been for a diving outfield catch made by Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras.
1.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks
Comment: After notching seven straight scoreless appearances, Valverde couldn't make it eight. He allowed a season-high in walks in his 1 2/3 innings, the last of which forced in the Rockies eventual winning run.
"We have to win one. [We can't] worry about winning two, three or four. We have to win one." -- Clark
Next up: If the D-backs are going to play again at Chase Field this year, they are going to have to reel off at least two wins in three games at Coors Field, where Arizona went 4-5 during the regular season. The D-backs would like to join the 1985 Cardinals, Royals and 2004 Red Sox as the only teams since 1985 to erase a 0-2 deficit in the National League Championship Series and advance to the World Series.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.