Rockies rally vs. Diamondbacks’ bullpen, spoil quality start by Merrill Kelly

Aug 14, 2023, 8:11 PM | Updated: 9:25 pm

Merrill Kelly...

Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Coors Field on August 14, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks relievers allowed four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies in a 6-4 loss Monday night at Coors Field.

Merrill Kelly set a season high with 11 strikeouts over six innings and Christian Walker drove in three runs in the defeat.

D-backs (59-60) manager Torey Lovullo turned to Joe Mantiply up 4-2 in the eighth inning, and the southpaw allowed three straight singles to load the bases.

Scott McGough entered and surrendered another pair of singles to score all three inherited runners. Nolan Jones hit the go-ahead knock up the middle. Lovullo went to Kyle Nelson as the third reliever of the inning, and Alan Trejo singled in another run. That made it six singles out of seven batters.

Rockies (46-73) closer Justin Lawrence struck out the side in the ninth for the save.

The Diamondbacks ended a nine-game losing streak over the weekend with a series victory against the San Diego Padres and were five outs away from continuing that forward momentum. They had a 6-1 record against Colorado entering Monday’s game.

Kelly’s night ended with six innings, two earned runs, five hits and one walk with 18 whiffs on 92 pitches. The 11 strikeouts were his most since 2021 (12).

He walked lead-off hitter Charlie Blackmon — fresh off the IL — in the first and then struck out the side. He produced five Ks over the first two frames without allowing a hit.

Kelly’s lone blemishes were a pair of solo shots by Elehuris Montero and Ezequiel Tovar in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.

The veteran entered the game with a 5.28 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched at Coors Field during his career, although he’s had success recently. He allowed four earned runs in his last 19 innings (1.89 ERA) in Denver after Monday’s outing.

The D-backs jumped on Rockies starter Chris Flexen with a pair of runs over the first two innings.

Walker doubled in Corbin Carroll the opposite way in the first, making that four straight games Arizona has scored in the opening frame.

Gabriel Moreno, in his first start off the injured list (shoulder), knocked an RBI double in the second inning to right-center field after falling behind 0-2.

Arizona extended its lead to 4-1 in the sixth inning when Walker hit a two-run shot to right field, his team-leading 25th home run of the season. The first baseman has hit in 10 of his last 12 games with three homers.

Arizona did not record a hit after Walker’s home run. The offense only produced five hits in the game with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

“Chalk it up to us not scoring late or them fighting tooth and nail to scratch some runs across,” Walker said.

“We’re priding ourselves in staying the future. The moment we have right now. The trends are the trends. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative stuff like this. Baseball is a roller coaster. It’s about lengthening the good parts and shortening the not-so-good parts. We’re being tested on how short we can make this funk.”

Roster moves

The D-backs optioned outfielder Jake McCarthy and recalled Kyle Lewis before the game. Lewis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Monday.

Diamondbacks injury updates

Pitcher Zach Davies (back) will throw 85 pitches in a second rehab start at Triple-A Reno on Tuesday and could return to the rotation after that, Lovullo said. Third baseman Evan Longoria (back) took ground balls and did running drills at Salt River Fields Monday, a first since he was placed on the injured list July 29.

D-backs prospect honored

Diamondbacks outfield prospect Dominic Fletcher was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week after he hit .522 with seven doubles and a homer in six games for Triple-A Reno.

Next up

The second game of this series begins at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Lefty Ty Blach will start for Colorado, while Arizona did not announce its starter by first pitch on Monday.

Tune in on ESPN 620 AM/98.7 FM HD-2, the Arizona Sports app and

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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