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Early damage too much to overcome for D-backs in Miami

Arizona Diamondbacks pitching coach Mike Butcher, second from left, talks with starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) during the second inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Monday, July 29, 2019, in Miami. The Marlins scored six runs in the second inning. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In a crucial stretch of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 11-6 loss on Monday to the Miami Marlins made it a 3-4 record for them against Miami and the Baltimore Orioles, two of the worst teams in baseball.

It was a chance for the D-backs to break away from the rut of average baseball they’ve been playing all season. The last time the D-backs were three games above or below .500 was June 16 when they were 38-35.

Alas, in the 34-game run, Arizona now finds themselves still stuck in that range at 53-54.

Six of the 11 runs scored by the Marlins came via a second inning where things went off the rails in a hurry for Arizona stater Merrill Kelly.

After allowing the first two hitters of the inning to reach base, Kelly gave up back-to-back RBI singles before getting his first out.

Looking to settle down and keep it at a two-run deficit, Kelly instead committed a throwing error on a bunt by Marlins starter Caleb Smith that scored two more runs.

Once again, Kelly couldn’t get his composure back, giving up a two-run homer on the next at-bat to Miguel Rojas.

The D-backs offense was there for a pick-me-up the next inning. Ketel Marte followed a Carson Kelly single and Tim Locastro double with a three-run homer that bounced off the top of the left field wall.

Arizona scored for the second straight inning in the fourth when Wilmer Flores’ double scored Adam Jones, making it four unanswered runs.

The momentum halted there, however, as Arizona’s offense wouldn’t score again until the eighth. For the exception of Carson Kelly being intentionally walked in the fourth, after Flores’ double, 12 straight D-backs hitters were retired before Marte’s single in the eighth broke the streak. That eventually led to Jones’ RBI fielder’s choice for the fifth run and Carson Kelly’s solo homer in the ninth made it six.

When Kelly exited in the seventh inning for Greg Holland, the right-hander couldn’t keep the game within reach for the offense and gave up three runs, only getting one batter out and failing to make it out of the inning. T.J. McFarland couldn’t limit the damage with two runners on, giving up a fielder’s choice that resulted in the fourth run attributed to Holland.

Holland has now allowed 10 earned runs in 6.2 innings for July.

The loss for Kelly marks his 11th of the season and his second straight ugly outing after giving up seven earned runs and three home runs to the Baltimore Orioles on July 23. Kelly ends July with 19 earned runs on his record in five outings. His ERA is now 4.52 on the season.

With the trade deadline looming on Wednesday afternoon, the D-backs have a quick turnaround Tuesday and face the Yankees in New York. First pitch is slated for 4:05 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.

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