As if the National League Championship Series between NL West rivals
Arizona and Colorado needed any more fire, it came anyway during the
seventh inning of the Rockies' 5-1 victory in Game 1 at Chase Field.
With the Diamondbacks trailing by four runs, no outs and runners at
first and second, Arizona's Augie Ojeda hit a groundball to third
baseman Garrett Atkins. Atkins fielded it, then turned and fired to second
baseman Kaz Matsui, with baserunner Justin Upton coming in hard to
Upton slid over the bag and rammed his right shoulder into Matsui's
leg, knocking the second baseman down. Second base umpire Larry Vanover
called Upton out on interference, resulting in a big double play for
the Rockies, as Ojeda was automatically called out on the play as well.
Then several unruly fans showed their displeasure with the call by
littering the field with water bottles and other objects.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle pulled his players off the field, and
after a warning to fans from the stadium's public-address announcer,
Colorado players returned for the final out of the inning.
"Obviously, we don't condone that," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin
said. "You don't want stuff being thrown on the field. We're not in
favor of that."
Melvin wasn't in favor of Vanover's ruling on Upton, either, saying
the rookie right fielder "was in position to touch the base."
"I felt he could get the base," Melvin said. "I think (Vanover)
agreed with that. I think it was more intent. I don't know. You'll have to
ask him. But obviously, I didn't agree with it, and that's why I went
out there (to argue)."
The Diamondbacks won't blame the controversial play on their losing
Game 1, but it does serve as extra motivation to come back with a
better performance in Game 2 on Friday at Chase Field.
"We bounce back after losses. We'll be all right," said Brandon Webb, Thursday's starting pitcher, who allowed four earned runs in the game
-- the highest total he's allowed since Sept. 12.
ROCKIES 5, DIAMONDBACKS 1: Colorado didn't hit a home run and didn't
even get an extra-base hit, but it managed to beat Brandon Webb and
the Diamondbacks Thursday -- on the road at Chase Field -- to take a 1-0
lead in the National League Championship Series.
Jeff Francis allowed one run and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings,
walking one batter and striking out four, as the Rockies won for the 18th
time in their past 19 games. Game 2 is Friday night in Phoenix, and a
loss by the Diamondbacks would put this series in complete favor of
Colorado with Games 3, 4 and 5, if necessary, in Denver.
The Rockies finished with eight hits, all singles, seven of them off
Webb, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. Webb allowed
four runs -- one on the second inning and three in the third -- after
Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Eric Byrnes.
Brad Hawpe went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs. Kaz Matsui also had
two RBIs for the Rockies. Webb was 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA against the
Rockies during the regular season.
"They were finding holes against me tonight," Webb said. "You've
just got to tip your cap to them."
--RF Carlos Quentin underwent shoulder surgery Tuesday, a procedure
that likely will sideline him through spring training next year.
"It dealt with both repairing the labrum and the rotator cuff,"
general manager Josh Byrnes said. "Dealing with both of those issues, it's
hard to pinpoint a timeline, but six months is a reasonable guess."
--LHP Doug Davis, who picked up a victory in Game 2 of the NL
Division Series against the Cubs, will pitch Game 2 on Friday against the
Rockies. He is 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts against Colorado
and 8-2 with a 4.27 ERA in 21 games at Chase Field.
--1B Tony Clark came up with the Diamondbacks' rallying cry this
season, "Anyone, Anytime," and it apparently caught on so well, the
veteran decided he had to protect the slogan through legal channels.
"The only reason I copyrighted it or patented it was because I have
a Christian clothing line myself and that thought process or slogan
would fit with what I was trying to piece together," he said. "That was
the only reason I did it, just to have access to it if I needed it."
--RHP Micah Owings is scheduled to pitch Game 4 of the series in
Colorado, but ace RHP Brandon Webb said he might seek out manager Bob
Melvin and make his plea to pitch on three days' rest depending on how the
series is shaking out.
"I'll play it by ear and see how I feel," Webb said.
--2B Orlando Hudson, who tore a ligament in his left thumb during
the first week in September and underwent surgery to repair the injury,
isn't ruling out the possibility of returning to action should the
Diamondbacks manage to advance to the World Series.
"I'm hoping," he said, "but Augie (Ojeda) has been doing a great
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
--LHP Franklin Morales, who started Game 2 of the National
League Division Series, was pushed back to Game 4 in the National League
Championship Series, with Ubaldo Jimenez moved into the No. 2 slot and
Josh Fogg inserted for Game 3.
"I wanted to split the youngsters," manager Clint Hurdle said of
Jimenez and Morales, both rookies. "Then there was the first home game
(Game 3). Fogg has responded to that environment."
--LHP Jeremy Affeldt came on to face Arizona SS Stephen Drew with
the bases loaded in the seventh, threw one pitch and got him to fly out
to right field.
"I had to pump a strike and keep it low," Affeldt said. "He almost
got me. He got under it. It was just in enough. I probably played with
fire a little bit there and didn't get burnt this time."
--2B Kazuo Matsui leads all players in the postseason with seven
RBIs, the latest coming on his run-scoring single in the third.
-- MGR Clint Hurdle on changing his lineup after his team had gone 17-1, the
loss coming against Webb and the Diamondbacks, by putting Willy Taveras,
who last played Sept. 8, in the leadoff spot:
"I know the lineup we threw out there against
(Brandon) Webb the last time didn't work. People brought a lot of attention to
the one game we haven't won in this run we've been on. I just thought
we needed to go at them a different way with some people that have had
success, and we were able to have some good at-bats early."
BY THE NUMBERS: 350 -- Career starts by RHP Livan Hernandez,
Arizona's scheduled starter for Game 3, which is 31 more starts than the
Rockies' first four scheduled starters combined.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you look at the number of close games and one-run
games we've played, they've been significant contributors in those
games. Everyone talks about run differential and all of that, but we
played a lot of close games, and a lot of that has to do with Tony Pena,
Brandon Lyon and Jose Valverde. Psychologically, we've been though enough
of them to feel like we're going to win." -- Diamondbacks manager Bob
Melvin on the back end of his bullpen and its important in the NLCS
against the Rockies.
ANALYZING THE LINEUP:
1. CF Chris Young
2. SS Stephen Drew
3. LF Eric Byrnes
4. 1B Conor Jackson
5. 3B Mark Reynolds
6. C Chris Snyder
7. RF Justin Upton
8. 2B Augie Ojeda
Comment: Leaving 14 runners on base, as the Diamondbacks did in Game
1, is not going to get it done. The lack of a major power hitter could
prove to be a fatal flaw in a long series with Colorado's mashers.
ANALYZING THE ROTATION:
1. RHP Brandon Webb
2. LHP Doug Davis
3. RHP Livan Hernandez
4. RHP Micah Owings
Comment: When the ace loses the opener, it usually spells trouble.
The Diamondbacks have to hope that the veteran poise of Davis will be an edge
against Rockies rookie Ubaldo Jimenez Game 2.
ANALYZING THE BULLPEN:
RH closer Jose Valverde
RHP Brandon Lyon
RHP Tony Pena Jr.
RHP Juan Cruz
Comment: The unearned run Cruz allowed in the seventh inning
Thursday is the only run given up by Diamondbacks relievers 11 1/3 innings
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