PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly allowed a ground ball double down the line and a couple of bunt singles Monday night at Chase Field.
The veteran righty was nearly flawless in eight frames against the San Francisco Giants (48-48), owning a perfect game through five. His offense rewarded him with run support in a 7-0 victory for Arizona (43-53) to open the series.
Kelly completed his fifth perfect inning at only 63 pitches, as he efficiently set down the first 15 Giants hitters with six punch outs. Three of his seven strikeouts Monday came on his sinker, two with the fastball and two with changeups.
Merrill Kelly, Filthy 93mph Two Seamer. pic.twitter.com/yUaeLSftJx
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 26, 2022
He said all of his pitches were working for him.
“I think today was probably one of the better, as far as execution and pitch location, I would say probably one of the better ones I’ve had all season, “Kelly said postgame. “Fastball command was good, kept the changeup down for the most part, landed the curveball.”
His battery mate, Carson Kelly, said Kelly had more “giddy-up” on his pitches Monday and did a good job getting ahead of hitters.
Kelly knew what was on the scoreboard after the fifth inning, but he smiled and said it was too early in the game to think of perfection.
Merrill Kelly is off to a great start through 5 pic.twitter.com/Z1CC9Pf5cs
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 26, 2022
“I was aware of it, but just trying to make pitches at that point,” Kelly said.
Manager Torey Lovullo elected to go to the bullpen in the ninth since Kelly was at 99 pitches. Kelly said he would have liked the chance for a complete game but was okay with the decision.
Monday was Kelly’s third start of the month against San Francisco and his third victory.
He has allowed three runs over his last 26 innings against the Giants dating back to last year.
The D-backs’ offense, meanwhile, squandered multiple early scoring chances before getting to San Francisco’s bullpen in the fifth inning.
Giants starter Jakob Junis threw four scoreless frames and exited with an out in the fifth. Southpaw Jarlin Garcia entered with an inherited runner on second.
Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo drove in the game’s first run by hooking a double into the corner in left, his fourth RBI in as many games.
Center fielder Alek Thomas overcame a lefty-lefty matchup and smoked a single 100.5 MPH up the middle to score Perdomo, who slid in safely ahead of the throw to take a 2-0 lead.
Carson Kelly grew Arizona’s advantage in the sixth by sending a 412-foot double to the deepest part of Chase Field in left-center. Two runs scored, and Kelly extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Carson Kelly extends his hitting streak to 13 games with a 2-run double! pic.twitter.com/IV6tffY0y7
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 26, 2022
“Just keeping it simple, and I really like where my move is,” Kelly said postgame. “Right now, it’s just continuing to put myself in the best position to succeed, so continue with my routine, resetting after every single pitch, after every single at-bat.”
Third baseman Josh Rojas followed with a single which scored Kelly to up the score to 5-0.
The D-backs padded their lead in the eighth, as Christian Walker drove a two-run single up the middle, becoming the ninth hitter in the order to reach base Monday night.
Arizona finished the game with 11 hits, and they have reached double-digit knocks in all four games since the All-Star break.
“We’ve had an all-field approach that makes us very unpredictable and tough to pitch to,” Lovullo said postgame. “We need to continue doing that so we’re not pull-side only. I think we’re following game plans … making adjustments and using the entire field and it’s translated into some really impressive at-bats.”
Rojas, Kelly, David Peralta and Jake McCarthy each picked up two knocks Monday.
The D-backs have won four of their last five games, outsourcing opponents 30-10 during the stretch.
“We’ve got a long way to go, we’ve got a lot to prove,” Lovullo said. “But when we do things like we did today and we have been doing for the past several games, yeah, it makes me happy.”
The D-backs were everywhere on the base paths Monday, tagging up from first base to take second multiple times and stealing bags.
Rojas had a career-high three stolen bases during the game. Lovullo said base running is something the D-backs stressed back in spring training and the results are showing.
On the other side, Kelly picked off a runner at first and Rojas doubled off Gonzalez at second after his perfect game-ending double.
¡Josh Rojas con la doble play! pic.twitter.com/sHHP5uACWG
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@LosDbacks) July 26, 2022
The D-backs play for a second straight series victory Tuesday evening at 6:40 p.m.
Tyler Gilbert will pitch for Arizona against Carlos Rodon, and you can tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.