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D-Backs snap skid, back Kelly with three homers in 7-0 win

Arizona Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Merrill Kelly allowed one hit over six innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks hit three homers to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-0 on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game skid.

Christian Walker hit a two-run homer and Josh Rojas and Jordan Luplow added solo shots for the Diamondbacks, who stopped a 26-inning scoreless streak with a five-run eighth inning in Tuesday’s 14-8 loss to the Reds.

The game’s first pitch was delayed 1 hour, 40 minutes by rain.

One night after launching five home runs and piling up 16 hits, Cincinnati managed just a double and four singles against Kelly (5-3) and three relievers. Kelly walked three and struck out five while lasting longer than five innings for the first time in his last six starts.

“I felt the best I’ve felt in the last month,” Kelly said. “My command was a lot better than it has been. My mentality was to be aggressive. Knowing that I had more life in my fastball put that thought into my head.”

“Their pitcher did a nice job,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We weren’t able to get anything going. We weren’t able to square to ball up.”

Kelly got a boost from Alek Thomas, who leaped at the left-center field fence and robbed Joey Votto of a two-run homer to end the first inning. Cincinnati had scored in the first inning in the previous six games.

“Off the bat, I thought it was long gone,” Kelly said. “I thought there was no chance it was coming back. I was walking to the plate to get a new ball from (plate umpire) Angel (Hernandez) and I saw he was still watching the play, and I didn’t hear any cheering from the crowd. When I looked, he was just coming down. I wasn’t sure if he’d caught it or not. With a play like that, the momentum swings in your favor. It could’ve been a different ballgame.”

“That’s a situation where, if they get a two-run homer, you’re looking at the same type of game as (Tuesday) night,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

Thomas also robbed Votto of a hit with a diving catch of a sinking liner in the fourth.

Walker snapped a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with his 15th homer, a rocket 10 rows deep into the left field seats with Ketel Marte on base. The lead was Arizona’s first since the ninth inning of an eventual 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Rojas’s knocked Mike Minor out of his second start of the season with a one-out solo homer in the fifth. Minor (0-2), who spent the first two months of the season on the Injured List with a left shoulder strain that developed in spring training, allowed three hits and three runs with three walks and four strikeouts.

MOWING ‘EM DOWN

RHP Hunter Greene and RHP Graham Ashcraft combined on Monday and Tuesday to retire 30 consecutive batters, the most by Reds duo since Tom Seaver and Paul Moskau teamed up to retire 35 straight batters on June 9-10, 1979.

WATERLOGGED

Wednesday’s rain delay pushed to four the number of stoppages in the first three games of the four-game series, totaling 4 hours, 1 minute.

FORGETTABLE

Kelly was charged with a balk when he lost his footing and fell while delivering a pitch with Alejo Lopez on first in the first inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver (right elbow inflammation) threw 60 pitches over four innings in rehab start for Triple-A Reno on Tuesday. He’ll throw a bullpen session on Friday, manager Torey Lovullo said. … C Carson Kelly (left oblique strain) caught seven innings and hit a home run in the same game. He was expected to DH on Wednesday, Lovullo said. … SS Nick Ahmed (right shoulder inflammation) was shifted to the 60-day Injured List on Wednesday.

Reds: CF Nick Senzel was scratched from the starting lineup with a lower back strain. … 2B Jonathan India (right hamstring strain), the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year, went 1-for-4 with two runs batted in on Tuesday in the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. … IF Donovan Solano (left hamstring strain) went 1-for-3 while playing third base in the same game. Both players had scheduled days off on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: RHP Zach Davies (2-3) threw 7 2-3 shutout innings in his last start on Saturday at Pittsburgh.

Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (2-5) left his last start on Saturday against the Nationals in the seventh inning with a 7-3 lead but was victimized by a blown save for the third time in 12 starts this season.