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D-backs’ Merrill Kelly loses control at windy Wrigley in loss to Cubs

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

Friday was a weird start in Chicago for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a game they lost 5-1.

The Windy City was, in fact, windy.

That led to some unconventional hits for Chicago.

D-backs starter Merrill Kelly (1-2) wasn’t doing his part to add any sort of stability for Arizona in an unstable environment.

Entering Friday, Kelly only had three total walks in 19 innings. He doubled that total plus one against Chicago, walking seven batters in 3.2 innings. The Cubs picked up six hits as well off Kelly, making it 13 total Chicago baserunners.

But the Cubs didn’t take advantage, hitting 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position against Kelly and leaving 10 runners on base.

They still managed three runs, though, two off that Kris Bryant double above and another via an Anthony Rizzo triple.

As you can imagine, that had Kelly’s pitch count quite high at 109 in the bottom of the fourth. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo pulled him from the game for long reliever Matt Koch.

Kelly stranded seven total runners to end his first three innings, including five in scoring position. He exited with the bases loaded in the fourth and two outs, where Koch ended the threat.

The 30-year-old Kelly was one of the bright spots for the D-backs through two games but he’s allowed a total of 22 baserunners in his last two outings. In a fashion similar to teammate Robbie Ray, though, Kelly has limited the damage in those and has his ERA at a manageable 4.37.

Run support to bail Kelly out wasn’t there early. Through five innings, the D-backs offense mustered two hits and a walk off Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks (1-3).

Koch gave up two more runs in the sixth, making it a 5-0 deficit.

The bright spot at the start of the series was that Koch finished out the game, throwing 4.1 innings and preventing Lovullo from having to use any more arms in his bullpen.

Ketel Marte’s RBI-double in the ninth prevented the D-backs from getting shut out.

With the loss, Arizona’s season-long win streak of four ends.


Arizona resumes play in Chicago on Saturday at 11:20 a.m. You can listen to the action live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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