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Snake Bytes 8/9: Liftoff

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Solo home runs from Starling Marte and Stephen Vogt, their first as Arizona Diamondbacks, fueled a win behind another strong start from Merrill Kelly.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks 3, San Diego Padres 2

[D’backs.com] Kelly ‘phenomenal’ again, tosses gem in win - You may be surprised by what Merrill Kelly has done this year, but the D-backs right-hander certainly isn’t. Kelly once again threw well Saturday night, when he tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball as the D-backs beat the Padres, 3-2, to even the three-game series at Petco Park. Starling Marte and Stephen Vogt provided the offense, both hitting solo shots, their first home runs since joining Arizona. “I mean, you can’t speak enough about the job that Merrill’s done so far for us this year,” Vogt said. “He’s got all of his pitches working at any time. His command is just unbelievable. As a catcher, it’s so much fun when you have someone who has everything in their repertoire [working]. He really has just given us a chance to win every time he’s taken the ball, and that’s all you can ask of him. He’s been phenomenal.” The D-backs have won two of Kelly’s three starts this year, and in the one they didn’t, they were shut out, 3-0, by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

[Arizona Sports] Merrill Kelly pitches 6 innings, Vogt drives home 2 runs in D-backs win - Vogt’s home run wasn’t what excited Lovullo, nor was it the one off the bat of Starling Marte. The first thing the manager talked about with media after the game was Vogt’s sacrifice fly to drive Marte home two innings earlier. Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Marte hit a leadoff double. David Peralta moved him to third with a grounder to the right side, and then Vogt hit a sac fly to drive him home. “The way we did it was nice. We had a couple solo home runs, but let’s go back to the double, get him over, get him in,” Lovullo said. “Those are the little things that we talk about, that we preach. That helps you win one-run ball games.”

[AZ Central] Starling Marte, Stephen Vogt homer to carry Diamondbacks over Padres - And they won, again, their third victory in the past four days. They are a team that is far from firing on all cylinders. But they continue to show they can win despite that, a good indication for a team that not long ago seemed on the brink of disaster. That said, the Diamondbacks played one of their better games on Saturday. The only runs they allowed came via solo homers by Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres’ incredible young shortstop. The Diamondbacks played a clean defensive game. They did not do much offensively, but they made do with what they had.

Around the League

[MLB.com] Pence loses ball, Cueto loses no-no - The Giants won, but Johnny Cueto lost. A brutal mistake by left fielder Hunter Pence ended Cueto’s no-hit bid and cost the veteran right-hander a chance at history in the Giants’ 5-4 win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night. Cueto did not allow a hit through his first five innings, and he opened the sixth by inducing a routine fly ball off the bat of Kiké Hernández. But Pence, who was making only his third start of the year in left field, appeared to lose the ball in the twilight, allowing it to fall for a leadoff triple. Austin Barnes followed with a groundout to knock in Hernández from third and cut the Giants’ lead to 5-1. “It’s part of the game,” Cueto said in Spanish. “My teammate, Pence, lost the ball. Those things happen. ... I know he felt really bad.”

[The Athletic] Thankful for a long MLB career, Chris Iannetta retires on his own terms - If Chris Iannetta had just accepted a position on the Yankees’ taxi squad, he might have been back in the majors relatively quickly. But Iannetta said he was transparent with club officials even before he agreed to a minor-league deal on Jan. 9. He would retire if the team asked him to go to the minors... “If I didn’t make the team out of spring, I was going to call it a career. They knew that the whole time,” Iannetta said on Saturday. “That’s kind of what transpired when they took me off the roster and wanted me to go to Scranton. I was like, no. I wasn’t about to hang on or sit around and wait for someone to get hurt or get called up again. I’ve never wished anyone to get hurt in my entire career, and I wasn’t about to start now.”

[Yahoo Sports] Pirates’ Phillip Evans stretchered off field after scary collision with teammate - Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Phillip Evans was taken off the field on a stretcher during Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers after being involved in a scary collision with right fielder Gregory Polanco. Evans and Polanco were chasing a sixth-inning fly ball off the bat of Miguel Cabrera when the collision occurred. Evans was running into foul territory with his back to the infield while Polanco was racing in at full speed. It appeared Evans was struck in the face by Polanco’s forearm or elbow. It also appeared he was temporarily knocked unconscious. Pirates players immediately called for assistance. Pittsburgh’s head athletic trainer then quickly called for a cart and a stretcher. Evans was stabilized with a neck brace before being carted off the field.