ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Winnable game vs. Reds gets by D-backs after Merrill Kelly’s uneven night

Jun 13, 2022, 10:58 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2022, 7:59 am
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the f...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly is having arguably the best stretch of his MLB career. Through a dozen starts entering No. 13 on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, Kelly’s ERA sat at 3.32 and he had allowed more than three earned runs in just one of those outings.

But as D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said himself pregame, Kelly had a series of great months before this more sustained spurt to open 2022. The next step for Kelly is to remain extremely consistent with what’s working mechanically, something Lovullo was seeing this year more than ever. But that level of constant success didn’t carry over in Arizona’s 5-4 loss.

Kelly’s great stuff that he’s been throwing nearly all year would have been enough to put the D-backs in a great position to win on Monday. Arizona’s offense managed four runs through the first five innings via a two-run homer for Christian Walker and RBIs for Geraldo Perdomo and Jordan Luplow.

It was simply a very winnable game, and Lovullo afterward cited his own frustration in how the D-backs could have been better in several different areas.

“This should have been a game that we won,” Lovullo said.

Kelly didn’t have that great stuff all night. He gave up five earned runs on eight hits and two walks with seven strikeouts across six innings and 102 pitches.

The first inning was ominous, as the first three balls put in play off Kelly were hit over 100 mph despite no runs coming across, per Baseball Savant.

Kelly grinded through three scoreless innings before he gave up a run in each of the next three. The right-hander said it was more of “navigate and survive rather than attacking” because of how often he was getting behind hitters.

An RBI single for Reds second baseman Matt Reynolds in the fourth inning was followed by a fifth inning with a one-out single for catcher Chris Okey and four-pitch walk to center fielder Nick Senzel. That prompted a mound visit, and two pitches later, Reds designated hitter and former D-back Brandon Drury smashed a three-run dinger to left to tie the game at four. That’s a homer Lovullo correctly stated as the difference in the game.

Cincinnati third baseman Mike Moustakas singled to score Reynolds for the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

Some of that great stuff did come at times for Kelly. He struck out five straight hitters at one point.

Arizona was 2-for-7 at the plate with runners in scoring position through five innings and the eighth and final at-bat the D-backs would get under that category was the biggest of the game.

Perdomo was up with the D-backs’ Alek Thomas on first base with two outs in the eighth inning. Thomas went to steal second base and the throw down there was off and went into center field, allowing Thomas to reach third base in a 2-1 count.

The Arizona shortstop Perdomo, however, struck out. It was a failure to capitalize on a Cincinnati miscue, unlike the aforementioned RBIs for Perdomo and Luplow from the fourth inning that came after a bobble by Reynolds on a tough grounder to handle let two runners on with one out instead of two.

Walker crushed a rare Chase Field home run in the third inning, one that wrapped around the left-field foul pole to land in the middle deck seats near the former Friday’s Front Row. That was his 16th of the year, a number that leads the D-backs and has him as the only Arizona player in double digits.

One of the agitating parts of the loss for Lovullo was the amount of loud contact the D-backs had. Baseball Savant had down three outs for Arizona that were hit over 100 mph, including two that ended an inning with an Arizona runner on base, and the other was the first out of the ninth.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Minor throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto (19) tosses his bat away after being walked by Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, right, during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker, right, backs away from an inside pitch as Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey, left, reaches for the ball during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker connects for a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey, left, loses control of the ball as Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker, right, earns a walk during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Minor (31) pauses on the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker, left, during the third inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas is unable to make a play on a single hit by Arizona Diamondbacks' Carson Kelly during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds second baseman Matt Reynolds is unable to make a play on an infield hit by Arizona Diamondbacks' Alek Thomas during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Carson Kelly (18) celebrates his run scored against the Cincinnati Reds with teammate Jordan Luplow (8) during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Alek Thomas (5) scores a run as Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey waits for a late throw during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Drury (22) celebrates his three-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks with teammates Joey Votto (19) and Nick Senzel (15) during the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds' Matt Reynolds (4) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Reds' Joey Votto (19) as Reds' Kyle Farmer (17) looks on during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on June 13, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, right, takes the baseball from Diamondbacks relief pitcher J.B. Wendelken (48) during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds second baseman Matt Reynolds (4) tries to bare hand a grounder hit by Arizona Diamondbacks' Alek Thomas (5) for an infield single during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas makes a play on a grounder hit by Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer before throwing to first base for an out during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds right fielder Albert Almora Jr. (3) makes a catch on a fly ball hit by Arizona Diamondbacks' Pavin Smith as Reds shortstop Matt Reynolds, left, and Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) look on during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) and Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer, left, laugh as they run off the field after a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell exhales as he stands in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Hunter Strickland (54) shakes hands with Reds catcher Aramis Garcia, left, after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Diamondbacks' Alek Thomas (5) steals second base as Cincinnati Reds second baseman Kyle Farmer (17) is unable to make a catch on a throwing error by Reds catcher Chris Okey as umpire Nick Mahrley, right, looks on during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 13, 2022, in Phoenix. The Reds won 5-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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