Diamondbacks blank Brewers as Merrill Kelly continues dominant run
Sep 1, 2022, 10:29 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2022, 7:31 am
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks continued their hot streak with a 5-0 win on Thursday over the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field.
Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (12-5, 2.84 ERA) again showed why he is one of the best pitchers in the National League this year, giving 7.0 innings with no earned runs, seven strikeouts and no walks in the win.
“He was challenging hitters, getting back into counts with his secondary stuff, just a solid outing,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “He had that changeup working, after the first inning, it was just a swing-and-miss pitch.”
Kelly recorded seven swings and misses with the changeup on Thursday.
The D-backs (62-68) opened the scoring in the first inning when second baseman Ketel Marte doubled down the right field line with two outs. Christian Walker came up and blasted a 406-foot home run to give Kelly an early 2-0 lead.
Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff (9-5, 3.54 ERA) struggled to get out of innings for Milwaukee (69-61) as the D-backs’ patient approach showed up once again.
Arizona mustered every baserunner with two outs in the first and second innings and handed Kelly a 3-0 lead as he marched out for the third.
After having unusual command in the first frame (10 balls, 8 strikes), Kelly pitched more comfortably throughout the rest of the contest, throwing 91 pitches and 58 strikes.
“I wish I could bottle the feeling I got from inning three and on to the first three,” Kelly said.
“Probably would’ve made the first part of the game easier for me, but other than that, once I settled down and got the rhythm going I felt pretty good out there.”
Woodruff was not in his normal flow, throwing for 5.2 innings with five earned runs, eight hits, four strikeouts and two walks in the loss.
Rojas blew open the contest in the sixth inning with a two-run double to one of the deepest parts of any ballpark in the league, making the contest 5-0. In fact, it would have been a homer in 26/30 parks.
All five of the Diamondbacks’ runs on Thursday came with two outs.
Not only was the D-backs’ starter lights out, but efficient as well, allowing only one runner to reach second base all evening.
The July National League Pitcher of the Month continued a dominant stretch. He has now pitched six or more innings in 15 of his last 16 starts, allowing three runs or fewer in 14 of those games dating back to June 8.
Left-handed relief pitcher Caleb Smith picked up Kelly in the last two innings of work, striking out four of the six batters he faced.
Arizona has now won six of its last seven games and is 10 games behind the San Diego Padres for the last Wild Card spot.
“I take the mindset that we are never satisfied and got to keep going out there and growing and learning, this is a young team,” Lovullo said.
“We’re not satisfied, we’re never satisfied.”
The D-backs are now 3-0 in games in which their No. 1 prospect Corbin Carroll has played in. The lefty went 1-for-4 with a strikeout on Thursday.
Walker hit homer No. 31 on the season, putting him in sixth place in the National League.
Kelly has a locker situated right next to RHP Zac Gallen’s. Kelly said the two do not rub good performances in each other’s faces, but said they would be naïve if they weren’t in an unspoken competition.
Arizona will look to Zach Davies to take on Brewers’ Eric Lauer in game No. 2 of the series at 6:40 p.m. on Friday. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.