Ian Kennedy blows save, gives up walk-off HR in D-backs’ loss to Giants

Aug 16, 2022, 9:59 PM
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks can not catch a home run ball hit by Brandon Crawford #3...
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks can not catch a home run ball hit by Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants for a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oracle Park on August 16, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks were one strike away from a win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday before Brandon Crawford’s two-run walk-off homer handed Arizona a 2-1 loss.

The D-backs led 1-0 heading into the ninth inning, where Ian Kennedy tried to make it five straight successful save opportunities. Arizona has been using a closer by committee role for nearly two weeks and Kennedy has received the nod for four of the last six chances.

Kennedy got the first two outs before facing Giants second baseman Thairo Estrada. At a 1-2 count, a fastball from Kennedy came in low and outside, appearing to catch the edge of the outside part of the plate that umpire Cory Blaser had been calling a strike for most of the night. Blaser looked as if he was about to call strike three before issuing a ball.

On the next pitch, Estrada hit a triple to right field. In-between at-bats, manager Torey Lovullo came out to argue with Blaser about something, which Lovullo clarified after the game was because of the way Blaser called ball two in the Estrada plate appearance.

Lovullo was animated, and then after Crawford went long in the next at-bat to end the game, Lovullo was seen yelling from the dugout in Blaser’s direction.

The blown save and loss for Kennedy ruined what would have been a win for the D-backs on the backs of Merrill Kelly and Christian Walker, two guys who are currently playing their best baseball of 2022.

Kelly threw seven scoreless innings while Walker’s solo home run in the fourth was responsible for Arizona’s lone run.

The right-hander Kelly has been sensational for the last six-plus weeks. Tuesday’s outing was the seventh in Kelly’s last 11 that he’s been able to last at least seven innings in and the 33-year-old still hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 24. Kelly’s previous nine appearances add up to totals of 60.1 innings and just 11 earned runs.

As for Walker, that long ball made it 17 RBIs in August alone, the most in MLB. He entered the night batting .360 for the month and his 29th dinger of the season tied his career high.

It was not a spotless night for Kelly, who gave up four hits and two walks, but he stranded runners in scoring position on seven different occasions to prevent any Giants runners from crossing home plate.

Arizona’s offense produced five hits and zero walks.

Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)...
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