D-backs offense picks up Merrill Kelly, takes down Rockies
Midway through another uninspiring start by Merrill Kelly, the D-backs were staring at a 6-3 deficit in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies and a potential third loss in a row.
Three homers later and they controlled the game with a 7-6 lead, one they extended to 8-6 and then held for a win in Colorado.
Nick Ahmed hit a two-run homer in that inning and finished with four RBIs after a two-RBI single in the fourth.
Jake Lamb and Carson Kelly sandwiched Ahmed’s dinger with the solo variety in the sixth.
Ketel Marte brought in a run on a single in the third and rookie infielder/outfielder Josh Rojas got his first MLB hit and RBI as well in the seventh.
The eight runs swerved the narrative away from right-hander Merrill Kelly, who had another rough outing.
In mid-July, Kelly was through 20 starts and looked at as a success for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a rookie signing.
The 30-year-old had a 3.77 ERA and gave the D-backs a reliable arm in the backend of the rotation.
Less than a month later, the same cannot be said, an under-the-radar negative development for the D-backs where the margin for error in a wild card race is so slim.
As it was on Monday, getting through the order clean on the first go-around continues to be an issue for Kelly.
Three starts ago, the Baltimore Orioles got seven runs off Kelly in the first three innings. It was a six-run second inning for the Miami Marlins on Kelly two outings ago, and in Kelly’s last start, the Philadelphia Phillies got one run in the second and two in the third.
Against the Rockies Monday, it was a four-run first that doomed Kelly.
Charlie Blackmon hit Kelly’s first pitch of the day to center for a single and Trevor Story took the next cutter Kelly threw to center for a double. After forcing Daniel Murphy to fly out, Kelly intentionally walked Nolan Arenado and struck out Ryan McMahon with the bases loaded.
At two outs, Kelly could escape with no damage done, but Raimel Tapia singled to score two, Kelly walked Ian Desmond to load the bases again and Tony Wolters singled to bring home two more runs.
Colorado’s starting pitcher Peter Lambert struck out on the next at-bat to end the inning.
Four hits, a walk and an intentional walk had six batters reach base on Kelly and saw the Rockies score four runs.
Solo home runs for Colorado in the fourth and fifth innings made it six runs on Kelly’s record. He made it through 5.0 innings, striking out five and walking two while allowing nine hits. His ERA is now 4.77 on the season.
Luckily for Kelly, the D-backs offense was there to pick him up and snap a streak of seven straight losses for Arizona in Kelly outings.
In Kelly’s last eight starts, he has failed to pitch three scoreless innings to start the game. The last time he did so was on June 23 when the San Francisco Giants didn’t score on Kelly until the fourth inning.
Despite no runs coming in, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the D-backs bullpen after the three homers in the sixth inning.
Andrew Chafin had two runners on and two outs in the sixth before exiting for Yoshihisa Hirano, and Hirano had the same happen to him in the seventh when T.J. McFarland finished the inning.
It got easier from there, as McFarland coasted through the eighth and it was a 1-2-3 ninth for Archie Bradley to earn his fourth save of the season.
The D-backs are back in action on Tuesday in Colorado. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.