AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Diamondbacks outlast Rockies 11-8, advance to NLDS

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The Diamondbacks managed to stay just ahead of the Rockies throughout Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card game, eventually securing an 11-8 victory to advance to the National League Division Series.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt staked the D-Backs to a 3-0 lead with a three-run home run off of starter Jon Gray in the first inning. Ketel Marte tacked on another run in the second on a triple, chasing Gray from the game. Daniel Descalso of all hitters added some more insurance in the third inning with a two-run home run off of Tyler Anderson.

Staring down a six-run deficit after three frames, the Rockies didn’t go down quietly, much to their credit. They put together a four-run fourth inning against Zack Greinke. Gerardo Parra knocked in a run with a single, Mark Reynolds plated one with a ground out, Jonathan Lucroy brought home a run with a double to right field, and Alexi Amarista singled to center to score the fourth run. Greinke was unable to complete the fourth inning.

Things calmed down a bit as neither team scored in the fifth or sixth innings. In the seventh, the Rockies cut the deficit to 6-5 when Charlie Blackmon knocked in a run with a bunt. Archie Bradley, who got the final out in the top of the seventh, stepped to the plate in the bottom half with two outs and two runners on. He swatted a Pat Neshek slider to left-center field for a two-run triple, making it an 8-5 game.

As usual, the Rockies didn’t stay down. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit back-to-back solo home runs off of Bradley in the top of the eighth. Pat Valaika represented the tying run in scoring position when he doubled with two outs, but Lucroy flied out to end the frame.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Diamondbacks added yet more insurance. A.J. Pollock drilled a two-run triple to right field off of Greg Holland to make it 10-7. That marked the D-Backs’ fourth triple of the game. Jeff Mathis plated Pollock with a surprise bunt that Holland couldn’t field cleanly.

Fernando Rodney took the hill in the ninth to protect the four-run lead. After allowing a leadoff single to Ian Desmond, Rodney struck out out Charlie Blackmon and D.J. LeMahieu. Desmond took second and third base on defensive indifference, then scored when Carlos Gonzalez singled up the middle. Rodney finally ended the game, getting Arenado to ground out.

The Diamondbacks will open the NLDS against the Dodgers on Friday at 10:30 PM ET. Clayton Kershaw will start that one for the Dodgers.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.