D-backs avoid sweep behind outstanding performance from Merrill Kelly vs. Red Sox
May 28, 2023, 5:22 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX – Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly tossed a gem on Sunday, as the D-backs defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to avoid being swept for the first time this season.
Kelly dominated the Red Sox (28-25) lineup, improving as the game went on. The righty tied his season high with 10 strikeouts while allowing only four hits and one earned run. He threw a season-high 108 pitches, 64 of which were strikes, over 6.1 innings. Four of his 10 strikeouts came in the sixth inning or later.
Merrill Kelly’s book is closed.
Today’s line: 6.1 IP, 1 ER (inherited runner), 4 H, 2 BB, 10 Ks
His May: 2.59 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.
— Alex Weiner (@alexjweiner) May 28, 2023
Kelly’s season ERA is now 2.83, best among Arizona’s (30-23) starting pitchers in 2023.
“I’d like to think everything,” Kelly said when discussing what has been working for him recently.
“Fastball location has been a lot better. Cutter is coming on, especially the backdoor ones. And the changeup I think is probably the difference maker. If I’m throwing good changeups, I think it kind of opens up everything else.”
Kelly was aided by a great start to the game offensively by the D-backs’ batters.
With one out in the first inning, second baseman Ketel Marte singled to extend his on-base streak to 27 games. Center fielder Corbin Carroll followed Marte with a two-run home run to left field.
After a single by first baseman Christian Walker and a single by left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to move Walker to third base, third baseman Josh Rojas singled home a run. Rojas’ RBI single proved to be the difference-making hit with the Red Sox scoring two runs in the game. The D-backs led 3-0 after one inning.
Arizona’s early hitting success continued in the second inning. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo led off the frame with his fifth homer of the season, a solo shot to right field. The home run tied his total from all of last season and put the D-backs up 4-0.
“It was great to see Corbin get us off that little bit of an offensive rut with that big two-run home run but it was clearly evident to me that our guys went out there with an all-field approach,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.
The scoring ended for Arizona in the second inning. However, Kelly’s start and Arizona’s bullpen being able to get out of some difficult situations allowed the D-backs to win their 30th game of the season.
Lovullo was asked if he expected to reach 30 wins by May 28.
“Yeah, to be honest with you,” Lovullo said. “I aim high. I have to. And I could tell quickly that even though we weren’t playing our best baseball the first 10, 12 days of the season that there was some team chemistry here and they were riding together. Yeah, I felt like this team could win some baseball games. So, 30 is a nice big number.”
Arizona remains home for its next series, a four-game set with the Colorado Rockies.
The series begins Monday with a 1:10 p.m. Memorial Day matinee. Ryne Nelson (1-2, 5,02 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the D-backs against Colorado rookie RHP Karl Kauffman (0-2, 9.35 ERA).
The matchup can be heard on the Arizona Sports app, 98.7 and ArizonaSports.com.