|Hernandez not quite enough as punchless D-backs face elimination|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 14 October 2007 19:00|
It served him well - until the sixth inning.
Hernandez surrendered a tiebreaking three-run homer to one of his best friends in baseball, Yorvit Torrealba, and the Diamondbacks lost 4-1 to Colorado in Game 3 on Sunday night. One more loss and Arizona's terrific season is over.
``I pitched a pretty good game, just one mistake,'' Hernandez said. ``On one pitch you can lose the game, and that was the pitch right there.''
The Diamondbacks turned to Hernandez, their most seasoned postseason player, as the series shifted to Colorado and the veteran right-hander looked good for a while on a damp and cold night at Coors Field.
``People say I have a lot of heart,'' Hernandez said. ``What I try to do is go out and pitch a good game. You never want to try to say something good about yourself, but people say that and the numbers, you know, the numbers talk.''
He kept the Rockies off balance with an array of curveballs and changeups, occasionally mixing in a fastball in the low 80-mph range. One changeup wasn't fast enough to register on the ballpark radar gun. Another in his final inning came in at 60 mph.
``In a game where we're not giving him any run support and the conditions and so forth out there,'' manager Bob Melvin said, ``I thought he did more than his job to keep us in the game, give us a chance.''
Hernandez almost escaped the sixth without allowing a run. He struck out Troy Tulowitzki with two runners on and one out but Torrealba hit a full-count pitch into the left-field seats to make it 4-1.
``It's the last pitch I wanted to throw him. I've known Yorvit for a long time. We were teammates in San Francisco,'' Hernandez said. ``He hit it. I had nothing else to throw. I throw a slider - foul, I throw a curveball - foul. I throw another slider - foul. I throw a fastball up - he didn't swing. I said 'Let me throw a fastball in.'''
Hernandez gave up a single to pinch-hitter Jeff Baker following Torrealba's drive, then was replaced. He walked off the mound most likely for the final time as a Diamondback.
Hernandez's contract expires after this season, and the team is not expected to re-sign him.
``It's out of my hands,'' he said. ``If I've got to go, I've got to go. It's happened to me before.''
Matt Holliday also homered with two outs in the first for Colorado, which got to Hernandez for eight hits.
Earlier in the game, Hernandez exchanged good-natured barbs with Torrealba when the Rockies catcher came to the plate. He said he has learned to enjoy himself no matter the situation.
``I try to enjoy because it's baseball,'' Hernandez said. ``In that situation, you've got to enjoy the moment.''
A decade ago, as a 22-year-old just getting to the majors, Hernandez was MVP in the NLCS and World Series for the Florida Marlins. It was the foundation of his reputation as a big-game pitcher. He was 7-2 in 12 postseason appearances before Sunday, 5-0 combined in the division series and NLCS.