The first few Arizona Diamondbacks games have not gone the way the starting rotation has wanted.
Through four games, the team’s starting pitchers could not muster a win and combined for 13 earned runs. The D-backs’ lone victory was awarded to closer Archie Bradley.
But that all changed Tuesday night in Texas as D-backs starter Merrill Kelly bucked the trend and helped secure a 4-1 win over the Rangers.
The pitcher had his best night as a D-back, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the team’s victory. He finished the night with just one earned run and three hits in 7.2 innings pitched (104 pitches/71 strikes). Kelly struck out seven batters and walked one.
“On a night where we were obviously a little down after a tough series in San Diego, I thought Merrill Kelly did exactly what we needed,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after the game.
“He basically carried us on his back through the entire day. We played downhill baseball, we scored some runs early, but this was really centered around what Merrill was able to do and throwing up a ton of zeroes.”
With a 3-0 lead already in hand before he walked on the mound, Kelly looked settled in right out of the gate, recording back-to-back strikeouts in the first inning.
From there, he continued to roll while limiting his pitch count.
“It felt good,” Kelly said. “I think the biggest part from me was after how the series went in San Diego I knew today was big. I wanted to come out and set the tone, go as deep as I possibly can. Give our bullpen a break and just kind of build some momentum going forward.”
The only blemish on Kelly’s performance came in the seventh.
With one out in the inning, Kelly faced Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor. Odor needed just one pitch to ruin Kelly’s no-hit bid, sending a changeup 413 feet into the stands.
Other than that, Kelly had a career night with 6.1 hitless innings to start the game. His career best before Tuesday night was 4.2 hitless innings against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 20, 2019.
– The D-backs added two runs in the first inning thanks to a Rangers error.
– Catcher Stephen Vogt recorded his first hit as a D-back, bringing in first baseman Christian Walker on an RBI-double.
– Outfielder David Peralta recorded the team’s only other RBI of the night.
– Bradley notched his first save of the season with three consecutive strikeouts to end the game after earning a win on Sunday.