Diamondbacks’ 9th-inning rally falls short in loss to Twins

Aug 4, 2023, 8:19 PM | Updated: 9:18 pm

Merrill Kelly...

Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field on August 04, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks failed to score a run after the fourth inning in a 3-2 loss against the Minnesota Twins on Friday at Target Field.

Arizona dropped four straight games in which it has scored seven runs.

The D-backs rallied in the ninth inning off Twins flame-throwing closer Jhoan Duran, as Jake McCarthy worked an eight-pitch walk and Alek Thomas singled the other way with one down.

Geraldo Perdomo attempted to bunt on a 99 mph fastball up in the zone and popped it straight up for the second out.

“The barrel was still getting into position when the ball was upon him,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

The game fell into Ketel Marte’s hands, and he built quite the at-bat despite falling behind 0-2. Thomas took second without a throw to get the go-ahead run in scoring position.

On a 3-2 pitch, Duran threw a splitter called for strike three on the outside corner, further away than the previous pitch called a ball. The pitch was outside’s default strike zone, as Marte took a step toward first. Corbin Carroll was stuck on deck.

Merrill Kelly gave the D-backs another quality start with six innings and two earned runs. He struck out nine batters, one shy of his season high and the most since he returned from the injured list on July 25.

Kelly stranded the bases loaded by striking out Michael A. Taylor in the second inning, but the Twins bit him for two solo homers. He exited the game with 93 pitches, while the score was 2-2.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. gave Arizona an early lead with a solo shot in the second inning off Twins starter Bailey Ober. It was his second home run of the road trip and fourth extra-base hit.

Twins third baseman Jorge Polanco went yard in the third, but Arizona responded with a catcher Jose Herrera RBI jam shot single in the fourth to regain the advantage, 2-1.

Ober was pulled after five innings and 104 pitches.

Kelly tossed a pair of scoreless innings before outfielder Max Kepler tied the game with another solo home run in the sixth.

“He’s such a perfectionist,” Lovullo said. “He’s disappointed. I knew it when I took him out of the game.”

Scott McGough entered for Kelly in the seventh, and his fourth pitch was shot to deep right by Taylor. It was a high fastball in a 1-2 count that landed on the porch in right, 364 feet away.

McGough exited with the bases loaded and two outs, but Luis Frias escaped the mess with a strikeout.

Christian Walker singled with one out in the eighth and skipped over to second on a ball in the dirt, but that was as far as he got. The D-backs were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position through eight and 1-for-7 in the game.

Duran picked up his 20th save in his first career outing against the organization that traded him. Duran was dealt by Arizona in 2018 for Eduardo Escobar.

The Twins stayed 2.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians in a tight battle for the AL Central.

Scoreboard watching

The D-backs did not lose ground in the wild card race, as the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies both lost. Arizona remains 1.5 games back of the Reds for the third wild card spot and 2.5 games back of the Phillies for the second spot.

D-backs injury updates

Evan Longoria was sent back to Arizona for further treatment and examination of his strained lower back. He’s been out for the last 10 days, still experiencing stiffness and pain. “It hasn’t been responding as favorable as we wanted. He had a couple good days and then a setback,” Lovullo said.

Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring, expected to miss at least two weeks.

Minor league check-in

D-backs 2023 first-round pick Tommy Troy hit his first career home run in the minors to dead center field for High-A Hillsboro in his third game. Troy was the No. 12 overall pick out of Stanford.

Meanwhile, 2021 first-rounder Jordan Lawlar went yard for the second time in three games for Double-A Amarillo. The top-ranked prospect has a 24-game on-base streak.

What’s next?

Ryne Nelson will start for the Diamondbacks against Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda on Saturday. Nelson has allowed one or two runs in five of his last seven starts.

First pitch was moved from 4:10 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. for a Twins Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Joe Mauer.

Catch the game on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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