Josh Reddick, Merrill Kelly Lead Diamondbacks to Victory over Giants

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Diamondbacks 5, Giants 3

PHOENIX, July 1 — Josh Reddick went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored, and two RBI to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5–3 victory over the San Francisco Giants Thursday night. “When Redd gets hot,” manager Torey Lovullo said, “get out of his way and enjoy the ride.” Enjoy the ride is exactly what his team did. The right fielder’s big night at the plate supported starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, whose seven innings of three-run ball put the Diamondbacks in a strong position to hang on for the win.

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The Giants scored first, doing so on a monumental solo home run by right fielder Mike Yastrzemski, the second batter of the game. In the bottom of the second, the Diamondbacks responded off Giants starter Johnny Cueto. Consecutive two-out doubles by Reddick and second baseman Josh VanMeter tied the game. Following an intentional walk of Stephen Vogt, Kelly helped his own cause with a broken-bat chip shot over the third baseman’s head to bring VanMeter across with the go-ahead run.

The Giants regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a one-out single by shortstop Brandon Crawford and a tape-measure home run by former Met and Diamondback Wilmer Flores. David Peralta responded in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff triple, and he scored when Reddick followed with a home run to right. The blast — his first with the Diamondbacks — gave his team a 4–3 lead. That lead swelled to 5–3 when center fielder Pavin Smith led off the bottom of the fifth with a no-doubt home run.

Diamondbacks Relievers Shut Down Giants

Kelly pitched seven strong innings before giving way to Noe Ramirez in the eighth. Given the Diamondbacks relievers’ abysmal track record with a lead in 2021, tension levels in the entire ballpark rose sharply when he walked the leadoff man, Yastrzemski. Nerves settled when he followed with two strikeouts — catcher Buster Posey and left fielder Alex Dickerson — and received a gift pop-up on 3–0 from Crawford.

After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, Joakim Soria took the hill to close it out. He immediately got himself into trouble with a walk to Flores and single by center fielder Steven Duggar. A 5-4-3 double-play grounder off the bat of second baseman Donovan Solano gave Soria a chance to exhale, however. It seemed to calm his nerves. Up next came pinch-hitter Darin Ruf, whose swinging strikeout ended the game and gave Soria his first save of 2021.

Postgame Reflections

Kelly won his third straight start, with his previous two wins snapping their 17-game losing streak and 23-game road losing streak, chronologically. To go one step further, these three wins have been the team’s only three wins in their last 27 games. Stopping the losing streaks is something Kelly takes “a lot” of pride in. “Our job, at the end of the day, is to win. That’s my goal going into every game, regardless of us being on a losing streak or a winning streak. My job every day is to go as deep as I can in the game and get us a win…. I definitely take pride in it, because that’s what we get paid to do, and that’s what I try to do every single day.”

Kelly credited his teammates, saying, “The guys did a really good job picking me up today after I gave up those runs — the Reddick home run and the Pavin (Smith) home run as well.” About his own RBI single, he chuckled as he recounted what happened. “I feel like I probably hit that ball twice, like I used my bat as a lacrosse stick and just threw the ball in the outfield,” he said. “But off the bat, when it broke, I was kind of (ticked), because I thought I was going to be out. Then when I looked up and saw that Flores was a little in on the infield and I knew it was going to drop (chuckle), it felt good. I got the monkey off the back this year. It’s been a while since I got a hit.”

Stats and Looking Ahead

“A while” is correct — Kelly’s last major league hit was a two-run, bases-loaded single off Dylan Bundy in a 7–2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on July 23, 2019. His hit Thursday night snapped a 45-at-bat hitless streak, raising his career batting average to .025 (2-for-79).

Kelly earned the win, while Cueto (6–4) took the loss. The win brought Kelly’s record for the season to 5–7. Over the last three starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings pitched. In those games, he has struck out 17 while walking one.

The Diamondbacks and Giants meet again Friday evening in the second game of their four-game series. Alex Wood (6–3, 3.91 ERA) will take the mound for the Giants against Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen (1–3, 3.69 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time.

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Players mentioned:

Josh Reddick, Torey Lovullo, Merrill Kelly, Mike Yastrzemski, Johnny Cueto, Josh VanMeter, Stephen Vogt, David Peralta, Brandon Crawford, Wilmer Flores, Pavin Smith, Noe Ramirez, Buster Posey, Alex Dickerson, Joakim Soria, Steven Duggar, Donovan Solano, Darin Ruf, Dylan Bundy, Alex Wood, Zac Gallen