D-backs’ Merrill Kelly becomes 10th pitcher in team history with 500 strikeouts

Apr 6, 2023, 9:03 PM | Updated: 10:03 pm

Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles D...

Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on April 06, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly needed two punch outs on Thursday to reach a milestone only nine others in team history have accomplished.

Kelly led Arizona’s home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers off with a strikeout against Mookie Betts to give him 499 in his career, and the veteran crossed the 500 mark in the fourth inning against a former teammate.

The 34-year-old struck out David Peralta swinging on a changeup below the zone on the seventh pitch of the at-bat.

Kelly wrapped up his outing with four strikeouts, reaching 502 in his career and tying for No. 9 on the franchise’s leaderboard with Zach Godley. He has a way to go before cracking the top eight, as Dan Haren is next in line at 570.

The righty exited after allowing four earned runs in 5.2 frames with 96 pitches — up from 74 in his season debut on Friday.

Manager Torey Lovullo said pregame that Kelly’s pitch count could get up to 95-100 pitches depending on how the game played out.

The D-backs trailed 4-0 as he departed, and Arizona fell 5-2.

Kelly is in his fifth season in the majors after pitching in Korea for four years.

Last year was a breakout campaign, as he eclipsed 200 innings for the first time in the bigs. He produced a 3.37 ERA and a career-high 177 strikeouts.

He tossed 3.2 scoreless frames in his season debut, also against the Dodgers, in a 2-1 win.

Kelly fell to 0-10 against the Dodgers and has a 5.70 ERA against them.

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