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Diamondbacks 9, Pirates 3 - Lucky 7’s

Merrill Kelly struggled for the first time in over two months, but the offense strung together some hits for a massive 7th inning to put this out of reach.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

The last time Merrill Kelly couldn’t make it through 5 innings was all the way back in June against this same Pirates team when Kelly only managed 5 innings with 89 pitches. Since then? 11 starts, averaging 6 2/3rds innings a game with an ERA of 2.21. Was it a sign of things to come in this one? Early on it didn’t seem like it.

Kelly was as close to perfect his first 2 innings, allowing just a walk to ONeil Cruz. He was quickly erased on a pickoff and the Pirates followed, striking out twice in the inning.

The 3rd was a little more strenuous, as old friend Josh VanMeter singled with two outs and Ben Gamel walked after VanMeter reached 2nd on a stolen base. BUT, Bryan Reynolds flew out to right field to end the inning.

The D-backs had an even worse time trying to start the offense against JT Brubaker, who stymied the team, allowing a lone walk to Jordan Luplow in the 3rd but no damage.

Both offenses picked it up in the 4th, as the Pirates strung together a couple of hits and walks to score 3 runs. The big moment was a fielder’s choice from Tucupita Marcano after a double steal put runners at 2nd and 3rd. With the infield in, Walker fielded the routine grounder and had a momentary bobble before throwing home, allowing Ke’Bryan Hayes to score after he left 3rd base on contact.

So instead of two outs in the inning and zero runs scored, we had runners on the corners with a 1-0 deficit. Greg Allen followed with a single, scoring O’neil Cruz from 3rd, and after getting caught in a rundown, Marcano scored when no one covered 1st behind Walker. Despite the youth, mental lapses still happen, and kudos to the Pirates for taking advantage for a 3-0 lead.

Thankfully, the offense responded in kind. Emmanuel Rivera continued his hot start as a D-back, homering DEEP to left for a leadoff homer. Rojas walked and moved to 2nd on a Walker groundout, but a weakly hit ball from Carson Kelly dropped in for a hit, scoring Rojas and cutting the lead to 3-2.

Merrill worked around an error and single by striking out the side in the 5th, but the extra batters cost him, as he had thrown 99 pitches to that point, ending his night after that inning. He was alright in this one, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6 in his 5 innings.

The bullpen was outstanding in relief, combining for 4 innings of shutout baseball. They combined to allow just a single hit, striking out 5 and giving the team a chance to come back, and boy did they ever.

McCarthy led things off with a single chopped-off home plate, Alcantara followed with a single of his own. Perdomo attempted to bunt, failing twice, and a third attempt hit him as he pulled the bat back for a HBP, loading the bases. Thomas grounded out sharply to a drawn-in infield, and Newman only had one play as he had it bounce off his chest to tie the game at 3. Early hero Rivera doubled down the left field line, just out of the reach of Hayes at 3rd to score two more runs. That wasn’t it for the offense, as Rojas and Walker walked to load the bases, and Varsho doubled to DEEP center field to score all the runners, breaking this thing wide open with our final score of 9-3. How deep? A homer in 27/30 ballparks. Unfortunately one of those was Chase Field.

A line chart showing the Diamondbacks win probability, starting a 50% and going as low as 24% before ending as 100% win probability for the Diamondbacks.

Emmanuel Rivera is your Player of the Game with his +.208 WPA after his 3 for 5 day with two doubles and a homer. Sergio Alcantara was 2 for 4 and a run scored for a +.126 of his own.

A breezy 54 comments with 0 in the red, so no comment of the thread this day. Stop on by tomorrow as the D-backs head to Colorado for a 3-game set against the Rockies.