Merrill Kelly dominant start helps Diamondbacks even World Series against Rangers

Oct 28, 2023, 7:39 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2023, 1:02 pm

Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly was once again dominant in the postseason. The veteran struck out nine and gave up only three hits in his seven inning, 89-pitch outing against the Texas Rangers in Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday.

The D-backs defeated the Rangers 9-1 to even the World Series at one game apiece.

Kelly’s command was excellent. He walked zero batters and was able to keep his pitches on the edges which kept the Rangers guessing with his changeup, sinker and curveball.

The right-hander pitcher retired the first 11 batters he faced before Evan Carter became the first Ranger baserunner after singling to center in the bottom of the fourth.

Rangers designated hitter Mitch Garver took Kelly deep to lead off the bottom of the fifth, but the veteran quickly regained his composure to get out of the inning.

Kelly then struck out the side in the sixth inning and retired the Rangers in order in the seventh inning before manager Torey Lovullo went to his bullpen in the eighth inning.

Kelly joined Curt Schilling (Game 4 and 7 in 2001) and Randy Johnson (Game 2 in 2001) as the only Diamondbacks pitchers with at least nine strikeouts in a World Series game.

Kelly became the first pitcher in the 2020s to throw seven innings in a World Series game.

The 35-year-old made his postseason debut earlier this year. He went 6.1 innings and allowed only three hits and no runs against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS in his first postseason start.

In the NLCS, Kelly gave up only three hits in Game 2, but the Phillies punished the few mistakes he made, as he gave up four earned runs en route to a 10-0 loss.

Kelly was then decisive in Game 6 of the NLCS, allowing only three hits and striking out eight over five innings to help the D-backs win in Philadelphia.

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Merrill Kelly dominant start helps Diamondbacks even World Series against Rangers