Merrill Kelly had dominated the Giants in five starts this year, throwing 35.1 innings and posting a 1.53 ERA with a 3-0 record. That all came crashing down in a disastrous first inning at Oracle Park tonight, leading to a 10-4 Giants victory. Alex Cobb picked up the win, improving to 7-7 while Kelly dropped to 13-8
The offense had staked Kelly to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to an RBI single from Christian Walker, scoring Pavin Smith. Unfortunately that lead was short lived. Kelly began the bottom half of the inning by walking Joc Pederson and it went downhill from there. After a fly out, Wilmer Flores singled and Mike Yastrzemski doubled just over the head of Jake McCarthy, the ball bouncing off his glove. That scored Pederson. Evan Longoria stepped in and launched a three-run homer deep into the left field bleachers, putting the Giants up 4-0. Two more singles followed before the ninth man to bat in the inning popped out to first base on Kelly's 35th pitch.
Kelly's second inning was almost as bad. It started with a wind blown fly ball to right center by Pederson that hit the wall just above McCarthy's glove once again. The ball ricocheted past Daulton Varsho who was backing up. Josh Rojas was heads up and had run all the way out to center and picked up the ball and threw to Geraldo Perdomo, but the ball bounced and kicked off his glove. By the time the ball stopped rolling Pederson was home with the Giants fifth run. Two outs later Kelly walked Yastrzemski and up came Longoria. He ripped the first pitch he saw over the center field wall for a two run homer, his second of the game and fifth RBI, making the score 7-1 Giants.
Kelly gave up one more homer in the bottom of the fourth, a solo shot to right by Yastrzemski. He went back out for the fifth and got two outs. But with his pitch count at 102 Torey Lovullo went out to get him and brought in Sean Poppen.
Kelly's final line was 4.2 IP, 9 hits, 8 ER, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts and three home runs. His ERA ballooned to 3.38. Through his first 27 starts, Kelly only gave up 10 homers. In his last five starts, he's given up 11 homers, including multi homer games in four of his last five starts. With 194. 1 innings on the year, Kelly inched closer to his goal of 200, but if he doesn't pitch better in Milwaukee it will be a pyrrhic victory.
The D-backs chipped away against Giants starter Alex Cobb, picking up two runs in the fourth. Rojas doubled and Emmanuel Rivera singled him home. Perdomo hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Corbin Carroll who had reached on a fielders choice. Rojas also had an RBI single in the fifth, making it 8-4 as the D-backs gamely tried to stay in the game. But Poppen gave up two runs in the sixth on a homer by Austin Wynns, followed by a double from Pederson and a sac fly by Flores. That upped the Giants lead to 10-4, capping the scoring for the night.
Game two of the three game series is a day game tomorrow, starting at 1:05 P.M. MST. Drey Jameson gets the start for Arizona. The Giants have not yet announced a starter but Gabe Kapler could be looking to go with an opener again as he did last week.