PHOENIX - At least the Diamondbacks have this much going for them. They were the last team to beat the Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, where they'll play the first of three (they hope) games tonight, needing to win two to stay alive. "It's not impossible," said Stephen Drew. "We just have to go out every day the way we have and take it one game at a time."
The Rockies, who were 51-31 at home this season, have won four huge home games since losing to Arizona Sept. 28. They beat the Diamondbacks, 11-1 and 4-3, to stay alive, edged San Diego, 9-8 in a 13-inning tiebreaker, then closed out their Division Series sweep of the Phillies, 2-1. And unlike in Phoenix, where the first two games didn't sell out until the final hours, every ticket at Coors was snapped up quickly.
"Denver's going to be a crazy place this weekend and we're excited to go home and keep playing the way we've been playing," said first baseman Todd Helton. "But we still have work to do."
The Diamondbacks are hoping to get some magic of postseasons past from righthander Livan Hernandez, who'll start Game 3 tonight. Hernandez, who was MVP when the Marlins won the 1997 World Series, is the only active Arizona player with a ring. Hernandez, who won the clincher against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three previous LCS appearances. "He's got good numbers," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's the one guy that we have that has been there and done that. We rely on him to share some of his experience and lead by example when he goes out there." The Rockies will counter with righthander Josh Fogg, whose last start was in the tiebreaker with the Padres, but he got the win against the Phillies in Game 2 of the Division Series with two innings of shutout relief. In his 12 career starts against Arizona, Fogg's teams are 9-3. In Monday's Game 4, Micah Owings will go for Arizona, Franklin Morales for Colorado. Melvin said there was no chance ace Brandon Webb, the Game 1 loser, would go on three days' rest.
Tonight's contest could set the record for biggest temperature difference at game time in successive playoff games. The mercury read 87 degrees for Friday night's contest in Phoenix. The forecast tonight for Denver is 43 degrees with rain likely . . . Colorado pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs, who set Friday's winning rally in motion by leading off the 11th with the slowest of rollers to the left side of the mound, was sheepish about it afterward. "You always imagine a home run," said Spilborghs, who came in on a bases-loaded walk to Willy Taveras. "You never imagine a swinging bunt to get on base. I'm hoping there are no videos for my grandchildren to watch. I'll just show them the box score." . . . Former Red Sox Tony Clark responded hugely after being plugged in at cleanup for Arizona in Game 2. He doubled, singled, and was intentionally walked, and he hit a monster drive that forced Taveras to make a circus catch in center field. He also snared a Matt Holliday screamer at first in the first inning and doubled off Kaz Matsui, who had walked.
What was Drew thinking when he got himself tagged out while jogging off in the wake of a force play at second base in the ninth inning? "With the crowd noise, I couldn't hear the call," said Drew, who figured Troy Tulowitzki had touched the bag. "When I looked back there was no call, so I figured I was out. By the time I started jogging, they'd already thrown the ball." . . . Indicative of the Diamondbacks' offensive anemia (three runs in two games) is that pitcher Doug Davis scored one of the runs. "Runs were hard to come by," said Davis, who led off the third with a double. "I'm as frustrated as everyone else. Not being able to move guys over and get them in." Arizona is 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and has left 19 men on base in the series. Not that the Rockies, who are batting .211, have done much better. They're 4 for 19 with runners in scoring position with 17 left. "They scratched that one more [run] than we did," Melvin conceded Friday night.
Score it an error
Melvin said he believes the umpires erred in calling interference on Justin Upton in the seventh inning of Colorado's 5-1 victory in Game 1.
"I think it's a good, clean, hard slide," Melvin said before Game 2 Friday night. "You're supposed to just slide into the bag? It's human nature. His job is to go in there and try to take the guy out. And when you're still within distance of the bag, you'll see it happen nine times out of 10, guys will vary their angle to it."
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.