Diamondbacks squander lead as losing streak hits 10

May 26, 2021, 10:58 PM
Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the San Francis...
Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on May 26, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It looked like the Arizona Diamondbacks had finally snapped out of this lengthy slump on Wednesday night.

It really did. Then the eighth inning happened.

Giants outfielder Austin Slater and third baseman Jason Vosler hit back-to-back home runs off D-backs relief pitcher Alex Young as San Francisco rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to edge Arizona 5-4 in front of 8,597 fans at Chase Field. The loss is the D-backs’ 10th in a row, the 13th in their last 14 games and the 19th in their last 22.

Arizona jumped out to an early lead, courtesy of second baseman Josh Rojas and outfielder Ketel Marte. Rojas led off the first inning with a double, and Marte promptly singled him home to put the Diamondbacks up 1-0.

Rojas followed that up by singling home a pair of runs in the second, after Nick Ahmed had already driven in Josh Reddick. Two innings in, Torey Lovullo’s group had four runs – a number they’d only reached twice in the previous 13 contests.

“Things were going in a really good direction here today,” Lovullo pointed out. “Our guys came out with some intensity, we scored some early runs and everything was built around what Merrill [Kelly] was doing.”

For awhile, it looked like that would be enough. Kelly cruised through the first five frames, getting 1-2-3 innings in the first, third, fourth and fifth. Mike Yastrzemski doubled and scored in the sixth to chop the lead in half though, and that led to the end of Kelly’s night.

“I think if that sixth inning goes a little smoother for me and I don’t give up those two runs and we’re not in a spot where we’re scratching and clawing for every run that we’ve been getting, I think Torey sends me out for that seventh, no questions asked.” Kelly explained. “I think it really just was dictated more on that situation more than if I had more to give.”

Lovullo echoed that line of thinking:

“He threw the ball extremely well. He gave us six unbelievable innings,” Lovullo said. “Had it not been for the circumstances where we were trying to tack on an extra run, he could’ve probably gone out there for another inning, or at least worked into that seventh inning. Just did everything he could to keep us in the ballgame and give us a chance to win a ballgame.”

Slater and Vosler did the real damage two innings later and, ironically, neither of them even started the game for San Francisco. Vosler pinch ran for Darin Ruf in the sixth, then hit the go-ahead homer to right in the eighth, after Slater – pinch-hitting for Alex Dickerson – had just punched a two-run blast over the left field wall.

The D-backs went down in order in the eighth, but managed to load the bases with just one out in the ninth. Marte struck out swinging though, and Eduardo Escobar grounded out to short to end the game.

If you’re looking for positives, Kelly was strong for all but that one inning. And he left with a solid stat line of two runs allowed over six innings. The offense also showed signs of life, putting together 13 hits in this one. Rojas, Ahmed and Pavin Smith all had three apiece.

It won’t get easier for Arizona anytime soon though. At least not on paper. The Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals are in town Thursday to begin a four-game series, then the East-leading New York Mets are here for three next week.

Matt Peacock is expected to get the start for the Diamondbacks in the opener against St. Louis, though injuries have forced them to juggle their rotation at the last minute quite a bit this month. The Cardinals are going with righty Carlos Martinez.

The arrival of St. Louis also means the return of Paul Goldschmidt. Since being dealt to Cardinals after nearly a decade as Arizona’s most dangerous hitter, Goldschmidt has only played three games in Chase Field – all in September of 2019.

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