Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona Diamondbacks) saved Arizona from elimination in fall baseball.
Arizona won Game 6 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) 5-1 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Thursday (June 24).
One of the key contributors to the win was starting pitcher Kelly. Kelly had previously taken the loss in Game 2 of the NLCS on April 18, allowing four runs in 5⅔ innings. He gave up just three hits, but all of them were solo home runs.
A desperate Kelly picked up the win in Game 6 with his team’s fate on the line, allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings. Two walks in the top of the first put runners on first and second, but Kelly struck out Alec Bomb and got Bryson Stott to fly out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Arizona bats came alive for Kelly in the second inning. In the bottom of the second, leadoff hitter Tommy Pham hit a leadoff single off Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola. Luerdes Gurriel Jr. followed with a back-to-back home run to shake Nola. It didn’t end there. After Alec Thomas drew a walk, Evan Longoria followed with a timely double to make it 3-0.굿모닝토토
Backed up by three runs, Kelly gave up a run in the bottom of the second. After giving up a leadoff double to J.T. Realmuto, Kelly got out of the jam by striking out the next batter, Nick Castellanos, but gave up a single to right to Brandon Marsh to make it 3-1. That would be Kelly’s only run of the night.
Kelly struck out leadoff hitter Bryce Harper in the bottom of the third before giving up a single to Bom. Kelly got the next batter, Stott, to ground out to second base to get the lead runner out, but Stott stole second base to put runners in scoring position. After a seven-pitch battle against Realmuto, who allowed a double in the second inning, Kelly got a high fastball for a swinging strikeout to end the threat.
With momentum on his side, Kelly retired the side in order in the fourth on a grounder to second, a strikeout and a fly ball to center field. The Arizona offense responded to Kelly’s outing. In the top of the fifth, Corbin Carroll singled and Ketel Marte followed with an RBI triple to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kelly retired the top of the order of Kyle Schwarber, Trey Turner, and Harper on a strikeout, a fly ball to center, and a groundout to earn the win. The Phillies’ offense, stifled by Kelly’s momentum, couldn’t muster much of a response against Arizona’s bullpen, and Arizona broke the game open in the top of the seventh when Ketel Marte singled with runners on first and second. It was a 5-1 Arizona victory.
After taking Games 1 and 2 on the road, Arizona was facing elimination from Fall Ball with three straight losses at home, but they bounced back with a two-hitter to win Game 6 and even the series at three games apiece.
The Phillies, on the other hand, were unable to close out the series in Game 6, as Philadelphia’s “fall ace” Aaron Nola, who had been dominant this postseason with a 3-0 record and 0.96 ERA in three games, collapsed in 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits, two homers, two walks and four strikeouts. The two teams will play a fateful Game 7 at home in Philadelphia on the 25th for a ticket to the World Series.