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D-backs’ one baserunner is somehow enough to beat Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (17) celebrate a win against the Cincinnati Reds with quality coach Robby Hammock, left, Ildemaro Vargas (15), and Eduardo Escobar (5) after a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Reds 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled offensively over their last seven games, but it wouldn’t take much offense for Merrill Kelly and Nick Ahmed to propel their squad to a 1-0 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, ending their six-game skid.

All it took was one baserunner and one run for the D-backs to win, which is just the second win in franchise history when collecting one hit or fewer.

Kelly was lights out for the D-backs in his 30th start of the season.

After giving up a pair of singles to Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez in the first inning, Kelly got stingy. He stayed ahead of batters all night, and his efficiency gave the bullpen a much-needed break.

The only baserunners he allowed after the first inning was Freddy Galvis in the second and fifth on walks and Aristides Aquino off a single in the seventh.

Kelly lasted seven strong innings, allowing just three hits, no runs, and two walks with five strikeouts. He only threw 91 pitches.

“Just trying to go out and make pitches. Take one pitch at a time,” said Kelly on his outing. “Obviously with where we’re at right now and how we’ve been playing, I just wanted to go out there and focus on making pitch by pitch, and I was happy I was able to do that.”

For Kelly, it’s his 11th start of the season of 5.0+ innings pitched with one earned run or fewer, which ranks him third among rookie pitchers this season behind Chris Paddock and Mike Soroka.

The D-backs were still stuck in the mud offensively. Their only hit all night was the eventual game winner, a triple by Nick Ahmed to leadoff the third inning. It was Ahmed’s fifth triple of the season. Ahmed was then brought in by a Jarrod Dyson sac fly to put the D-backs up by one.

The usual suspects of Ketel Marte and Edurado Escobar were both hitless which ends Escobar’s streak of reaching base safely at 18 games. The D-backs have only registered 11 runs in their last seven games.

Cincinnati’s starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani had an excellent outing in the loss. The right-handed pitcher only gave up one hit and one run in seven innings of work. He struck out five with no walks.

“DeSclafani was getting ahead of us, I think he was ahead of just about everybody the entire night. That’s the name of the game,” said Torey Lovullo after the game on the team’s offense.

“Offensively, things have been a little bit of a grind, but we’re pounding away at these guys every single day, and talking, and teaching, and we’ll find a way out of this.”

Despite the lack of runs, the D-backs’ pitching was air tight. Kevin Ginkel went hitless in his inning of work, and Archie Bradley, along with his beard, came in for his 14th save of the season.

BASE HITS

– Per Elias Sports Bureau, Arizona’s the first team in the modern era, in games of at least 9.0 innings, to win with just one baserunner.

– The D-backs are also the second team since 1900, regardless of number of innings played, to win a game with only one baserunner, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

UP NEXT

The D-backs will turn to rookie pitcher Zac Gallen for the series win against the Reds on Sunday, facing off against former D-back Trevor Bauer. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Gallen has been very good at Chase Field since becoming a member on the D-backs. In his four home starts this season, he is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA, 28 strikeouts and an opponent’s batting average of .158.

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