Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly got back on track Sunday giving up just one run on five hits in seven innings of work in a 7-1 win against the Minnesota Twins.
It was his first appearance since he gave up five runs against the Cincinnati Reds, the second-most he’s given up in a start this season.
Kelly was able to turn things around quickly Sunday after giving up base knocks to the game’s first two batters, leading to a run.
The D-backs would give him some run support thanks to Christian Walker’s two home runs in the second and fourth.
Kelly would settle in on the mound, throwing six straight scoreless frames after surrendering the run in the first inning.
He ran into some trouble after giving up a hit to lead off the sixth but would strand the runner on second.
Pavin Smith added a home run of his own in the fifth inning, and rookie Buddy Kennedy delivered the fireworks with a grand slam in the sixth.
The 23-year-old Kennedy’s slam came in just his ninth MLB at-bat. He had a green light on a 3-0 fastball from Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar and didn’t miss, crushing a fastball into the left field seats to give the D-backs a 7-1 lead.
“You better hit a grand slam if you’re going to swing away,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said grinning.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 19, 2022
Kennedy even got a curtain call from the Chase Field crowd, who chanted his first name until he popped out of the dugout and acknowledged the cheers with a wave.
Kelly would return for his seventh inning of work, where he gave up a double but stranded another runner.
The quality start from Kelly lowered his ERA to 3.46 on the season and he picked up his sixth win.
He finished the day striking out five Twins’ hitters.
“Kelly threw the ball really well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said postgame. “We probably got a little big, trying to do a lot with some of our swings. He knows how to pitch, he knows how to take advantage of that.”
The Diamondbacks start a three-game series on the road against the San Diego Padres on Monday. RHP Zach Davies (2-3, 3.78) is the scheduled starter.
The D-backs are back in action Monday as they travel to San Diego to face the Padres at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.