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D-backs continue slump with another loss to New York Mets

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merril Kelly throws to a New York Mets batter during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ offensive struggles continued Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the New York Mets, marking five straight losses on the road.

New York took an early 3-0 lead off starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, who lasted 5.2 innings, allowed three hits, issued five walks and struck out six.

“Just kind of a whirlwind of a game,” Kelly said via Zoom. “Definitely not happy with the five walks, especially with the one to the pitcher. … I was happy that I kept the team in the game, but definitely not satisfied with how I felt and falling behind people and giving them that many free passes.”

Kelly returned to the mound after a three-day stint on the injured list. While the D-backs did not disclose the reasoning behind the move, the pitcher said Friday it was a coronavirus protocol issue. He added on Saturday that it had no affect on his performance.

Scratching and clawing to get in the game, the D-backs’ first hit of the night didn’t come until the sixth when Josh Rojas singled, quickly followed by a Christian Walker single. Arizona’s first run of the game was then scored after David Peralta brought Rojas in on a groundout.

With bases loaded on three consecutive 2-out singles in the seventh, it looked as though the D-backs were about to crack the game wide open. However, Christian Walker grounded out to first and the base runners were stranded.

“We continued to build the inning and that’s what I’m looking for,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think once you build the inning, you’re looking for a little bit of slug.

“We had the right guys up in the right spot, we just didn’t get it done. … There’s many things today that didn’t go the way we wanted to.”

The D-backs added one more run in the eighth off an RBI-single by Stephen Vogt, but it was all they could muster.

Lately, the D-backs’ bats are swinging, but they can’t find the big hit to cross home plate. Over the past two games against the Mets, the D-backs totaled 18 hits — all of them singles.

“We’re getting the guys on, just the timely hits haven’t fallen for us like they were in the past,” outfielder Josh Rojas said postgame. “I think we’re still putting together good at-bats, we’re still battling at the plate.

“We’re not giving away big at-bats. Every out, we’re making it tough on their pitching. I think it’s only a matter of time before those big hits that we need to pile it on will start dropping again.”

The D-backs finish out the series against the Mets on Sunday with two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom on the bump for the first time after being scratched from his last scheduled start due to right lat inflammation.

“I’m excited. I like facing guys that have that status, they’re supposed to be the best in the game,” Rojas said. “His numbers right now are unreal and we’ve all seen what he’s been doing this year.”

Right-hander Riley Smith will start for Arizona.

First pitch is set for 10:10 a.m. Listen live on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

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