D-backs Short Hops: Game 3
Arizona follows familiar formula to series-ending victory
CHICAGO -- Stop us if you've heard this before: Timely hitting and pitching lead the Diamondbacks to another victory over the Cubs. No one can peg the Diamondbacks for being something they are not, as they stuck to the formula that led them to the National League West title and parlayed that into a sweep of the Cubs.In < 25 words ...
Pitcher Livan Hernandez walked a tightrope, and Chris Young and Eric Byrnes hit solo home runs as the Diamondbacks advanced to the NLCS. Frozen moment
Easy. How about Hernandez getting out of a colossal mess in the fifth inning when he got Mark DeRosa to hit into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play after he loaded the bases on three walks? Hernandez wasn't great Saturday, but that out preserved a 3-1 lead. Big number
4 -- The number of double plays that the Cubs hit into in the first seven innings alone in Game 3 -- three times against Hernandez and once against reliever Tony Pena in the seventh inning. Game balls
Young's home run to lead off the game wasn't quite as momentous as the three-run blast he hit in Game 2, though it certainly got the Diamondbacks off to good start and, maybe more importantly, put the Cubs in an early hole that, again, they couldn't hit their way out of.
The king of the postseason certainly wasn't at his best Saturday, although he made some big pitches when Arizona needed it most, like the double-play ball with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. That made up for five walks in six innings.
Byrnes came into the game just 1-for-10 in the first two games of the series, but he beat out what looked like a potential double-play ball in the fourth inning that allowed a run to score, and then followed that with a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Sense of October
Byrnes' ground ball to Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez in the fourth inning nearly became an inning-ending, double-play ball, but Byrnes narrowly beat the return throw to first to bring in a run. Chicago manager Lou Piniella argued to no avail as Byrnes' wheels gave the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead.
5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 RBI, 1 HR
Comment: Byrnes' hustle allowed a run to score, while he chased home a run in the more conventional manner with a solo home run in the sixth inning for a 4-1 lead.
6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 5 BB, 2 Ks
Comment: Struggled with his command, but got big outs when he needed to the most in Game 3.
The Diamondbacks head to the National League Championship Series after sweeping the Cubs. They'll face either their NL West brethren Colorado Rockies or the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLCS on Thursday at Chase Field.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.