D-backs’ Merrill Kelly ends dominant month with gem in loss vs. Braves
Six starts, six earned runs.
Arizona Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly had himself a July, and he concluded an impressive month with yet another gem Sunday in a 1-0 loss against the Atlanta Braves.
Kelly held the No. 4 scoring offense in MLB this season scoreless through seven innings, which dropped his July ERA to 1.31. He allowed three hits and two walks.
The veteran righty also struck out eight Braves hitters with five different pitches at Truist Park: fastball, curveball, cutter, sinker and changeup.
Merrill Kelly is dealing through six scoreless innings. pic.twitter.com/x53Asx4lk9
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 31, 2022
His eight punch outs matched a season high.
Kelly’s day concluded at 91 pitches with consecutive strikeouts to end the seventh: one on a sinker and the other with a curveball.
Merrill Kelly, 82mph Curveball (ball) and 92mph Cutter (backwards K), Overlay.
Why you might take a pitch in the zone. pic.twitter.com/ayDSsd7yWQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 31, 2022
The only trouble Kelly ran into was during the second inning.
Braves All-Star Austin Riley led off the frame with a double, but Kelly stranded two runners aboard with the help of an unusual double play:
Definitely the most unique double plays I’ve seen this year at Truist Park. Jake McCarthy nearly made an incredible catch, but the ball popped out and confused the #Braves base runners, allowing for the #Dbacks to turn a 7-6-5-4 double play to end the inning. pic.twitter.com/JdvJ6cmJJ2
— Ethan Sands (@EjElite1) July 31, 2022
Kelly has thrown six or more innings in 10 straight starts and has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of them.
The 33-year-old, though, did not get run support Sunday as Braves southpaw Max Fried also threw seven scoreless frames and held Arizona to four hits.
The ballgame was tied 0-0 entering the ninth inning when Riley drove home Matt Olson for the walk-off win against reliever Mark Melancon, 1-0.
The D-backs were swept in Atlanta and fell to 45-56.
LIFE OF RILEY
Riley’s second double broke was his 27th extra-base hit of the month, passing Hank Aaron in July 1961 for most extra-base hits for the Braves in a month. Riley leads the majors with 61 extra-base hits.
Jake McCarthy caught William Contreras’ flyball in the left-field corner in the second but dropped the ball as he tried to transfer it to his glove while running into the wall. With runners on first and second, McCarthy threw to shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, who relayed third baseman Josh Rojas for one out. Rojas threw to second for the second out of the inning-ending double play.
Braves: Open a two-game home series against Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Diamondbacks: Start a series Monday at Cleveland.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.