Slade Cecconi gives Diamondbacks quality in relief of Merrill Kelly to beat Giants

Apr 21, 2024, 3:50 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm

Slade Cecconi...

Slade Cecconi #43 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the third inning at Oracle Park on April 21, 2024 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks starter Slade Cecconi stepped up when called upon to deliver a quality start Sunday at the San Francisco Giants in a 5-3 win.

The right-hander made his season debut after the D-backs scratched Merrill Kelly due to shoulder discomfort and recalled Cecconi before the game.

Cecconi got through six innings with only 64 pitches (47 strikes), giving up two runs on two hits with no walks and three punch outs. The last Diamondbacks (11-12) pitcher who threw six innings with fewer than 65 pitches was Randy Johnson in 2007. Brian Anderson in 2001 is the only D-backs arm to do so in 60 pitches.

The 24-year-old did not give up a base runner until the fourth inning, when an 0-2 slider clipped Giants (10-13) lead-off man Jung Hoo Lee’s back foot. He threw 23 pitches over the first three innings of the ballgame.

Corbin Carroll provided Cecconi an assist in center field with a leaping grab to rob Michael Conforto.

San Francisco ended the no-hit bid on a Matt Chapman slow-roller to third for an infield single with two outs in the fifth inning. Mike Yastrzemski followed with a two-run shot 335 feet and 95.5 mph off the bat that just carried over the tall wall in right.

Cecconi recorded the next four outs to end his outing, getting through the lineup fully twice and the top three hitters three times each (0-for-8).

The ball was constantly in play but rarely hit particularly hard. The D-backs held a 3-2 lead when Cecconi was replaced by reliever Bryce Jarvis in the seventh.

He pitched in seven regular season games, making four starts, and two postseason contests last year for Arizona. The Diamondbacks went in another direction for the rotation out of spring training, but injuries across the roster have challenged the organization’s depth. Starters Ryne Nelson (15-day, elbow) and Eduardo Rodriguez (60-day, shoulder) are both on the injured list, as is closer Paul Sewald (15-day, oblique).

“It was not an easy day,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “You wake up and get the news on Merrill. It takes a toll on the team. And then what Slade did just kind of gave us a chance to catch our breath, and we won a big game.”

Arizona took the 3-2 lead in the sixth inning on a two-run single up the middle by Gabriel Moreno after Joc Pederson — on his 32nd birthday — led off the frame with a double. Kevin Newman extended the lead with an RBI single in the ninth inning in a controversial moment that led to the ejection of Giants manager Bob Melvin.

Umpire Stu Scheurwater called a foul tip on a curveball in the dirt Newman swung on with two strikes, leading to the knock. Melvin and third base coach Matt Williams were both ejected.

“It’s an out right there, instead of a hit and a run,” Melvin said. “It looked to me like it was fairly clear.”

Kevin Ginkel recorded the save in the ninth, and Arizona secured a four-game series split.

The Diamondbacks continue their road trip Monday at the St. Louis Cardinals. Brandon Pfaadt is scheduled for Monday’s game and Jordan Montgomery for the series finale on Wednesday, but Tuesday’s probable is to be announced. The Cardinals will roll with Lance Lynn, Steven Matz and Kyle Gibson, respectively.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Slade Cecconi gives Diamondbacks quality in relief of Merrill Kelly to beat Giants