In a hotly-contested, pure National League style, extra-inning game, the Colorado Rockies have won the National League Wild Card Game in an absolute classic.
It was the definition of a pitcher’s duel for basically the entire game, with both starters refusing to give an inch. The Cubs sent their horse and postseason legend Jon Lester to the mound. The Rockies countered with 25-year-old left-hander Kyle Freeland, who made his postseason debut.
Both men pitched their asses off.
Lester went 6 innings with 9 strikeouts, and was only touched up in the first inning when he allowed the first two batters of the game to reach before allowing a sac fly. It would be the only run he would allow on the night. From then on, he only gave up 3 hits, and was never truly tested after that first inning. With his 9th K of the evening, he overtook Randy Johnson to claim spot #8 on the list of pitchers with the most postseason strikeouts.
Freeland was just as dominant, if not more, going 6 and ⅔ innings, giving up 4 hits with a walk mixed in, and striking out 6. He went through a stretch of sitting down twelve Cubs in a row.
When Freeland was finally lifted from the game, Rockies manager Bud Black chose to go with righty Adam Ottavio, and things got chaotic. Ottavio’s first pitch was a passed ball which allowed the tying run to get to second. He then walked Willson Contreras. It seemed like Ottavio had escaped trouble after getting Tommy La Stella to ground out, but was ruled catcher’s interference to load the bases. As Wrigley Field roared, Ottavio struck out pinch-hitter Jason Heyward to end the bases loaded threat.
The Rockies would not stay on top for long, as the very next inning, with Ottavio still on the mound, Anthony Rizzo ripped a single up the middle. He was then pinch-ran for with pinch-runner specialist Terrance Gore, who immediately stole second base, and would score two pitches later on an RBI double from Javy Baez. Rockies closer Wade Davis, who should’ve probably started the inning, came in and struck out Albert Almora to end the threat.
The game continued deep into the night, with both teams pulling double switches up the wazoo and Joe Madden even bringing in Cole Hamels to do his best Madison Bumgarner impression, managing to escape a 10th inning bases-loaded jam.
In the 11th, the Cubs had their own chance to end the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out, but couldn’t manage to scrape a run across.
Then, finally, in the 13th-goddamn-inning, someone was finally able to break through. After back to back two-out singles off of Kyle Hendrick (also doing his best Madbum impression), Tony Wolters (WHO????) rocketed an RBI single up the middle to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Scott Oberg would go on to strike out each batter he faced in his 4 out save to close out the game.
The game lasted for nearly 6 hours, both teams used a combined 15 pitchers, over 350 pitches thrown. It was the first deciding game ever to go 13 innings, and the longest deciding game of any postseason series in MLB history.
Congratulations to the Colorado Rockies for moving onto to the Divisional Series, where they will face the Milwaukee Brewers. Series starts Thursday in Miller Park.
Rocktober is finally back.
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