The long and winding road finally leads to a win for D-Backs
Published 10:19 pm Sunday, June 27, 2021
SAN DIEGO (AP) — It had been 62 days and 24 road games since the Arizona Diamondbacks shook hands on the field after a victory.
“You can’t imagine how good it feels,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the Diamondbacks snapped their record 24-game road losing streak by routing the San Diego Padres 10-1 on Saturday night.
Merrill Kelly threw six strong scoreless innings and Eduardo Escobar had four hits and five RBIs.
Escobar and Christian Walker homered for the Diamondbacks, who hadn’t won away from Chase Field since April 25, when Madison Bumgarner pitched seven no-hit innings at Atlanta.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Lovullo said. “We played a real good baseball game today, we had a good approach and we won our first road game in a couple months. It’s actually hard to even think about, it’s hard to say, but I’ve heard several people talking about it already so it’s a burden we’ve been walking around with and it feels real nice to get rid of.”
Baseball’s worst team at 21-56 coming in, the Diamondbacks had dropped 20 of 21 games and 34 of 37 overall. They lost 11-5 in the series opener Friday night when Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. homered in his first three at-bats.
But the Diamondbacks bounced back with a runaway victory against the Padres, who opened this homestand by taking four against the Reds and three against the defending World Series champion Dodgers.
Arizona managed to quiet the fans who had rocked Petco Park the previous eight games, which were the first since 100% capacity was allowed under the state’s reopening plan.
Escobar connected for a two-run homer, and drove in runs with a double, a single and a groundout. He finished a triple shy of the cycle.
“No one comes to the ballpark to lose, but I still believe in my team and the talent on this team,” Escobar said through a translator.
Kelly (4-7) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked none.
“This season has been not one that we set out to play, but anytime we can end a streak like that, it obviously helps not only for myself, but just the morale and camaraderie for the team, for sure,” Kelly said.
On Monday, Kelly threw seven strong innings and the Diamondbacks ended their record 17-game losing streak.
“You’re always looking for that stopper, the guy in that rotation that’s going to go out and execute the plan, and it’s landed on Merrill a couple of times and we’re not surprised,” Lovullo said.
“He did basically the same thing at home, stopped that losing streak and we bounced on the the road, in a pretty hostile environment against a really good baseball team and he goes out and does a real nice job for six innings.
“I can’t say enough good things about what he’s did for us for a couple of big innings there where he really had to get after it and got some big strikeouts, some big outs,” the manager said.
Arizona star Ketel Marte singled with one out in the first off Dinelson Lamet and then left the game with tightness in his left hamstring.
Lamet (2-3) left with one out in the third, one batter after surrendering Escobar’s 17th homer. The Padres have been bringing Lamet along slowly after he missed his final regular-season start of 2020 with an elbow issue. He chose to rehab in the offseason rather than have reconstructive surgery. He has made it through five innings only twice in nine starts this year.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Lamet felt fatigue in his forearm and was having trouble gripping his slider.
Walker homered leading off the second, his fourth.
Tatis just missed a three-run homer in the fifth and ended up striking out.
Arizona shut down two big scoring chances for the Padres.
San Diego had runners on first and third with one out in the second before Kelly got the final two outs. In the seventh, San Diego had runners on second and third with no outs, and then loaded the bases with two outs before former Padres pitcher Ryan Buchter struck out Jake Cronenworth.
San Diego finally scored in the ninth, on Tommy Pham’s single.
Lamet allowed four runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings.