ST. LOUIS (AP) — Merrill Kelly threw seven shutout innings and Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed each homered in the eighth inning, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
“I felt like it was going to be a race to two or three runs in this game and the first team to get there would win,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “The day started and stopped with Merrill. He was fantastic. You shut out the St. Louis Cardinals, you’re doing something.”
Marte led off the eighth by taking a 1-1 curveball off Miles Mikolas (1-1) into the right field bullpen for his first homer of the season. It snapped his 24-game homerless streak dating back to Oct. 2, 2021.
“Things haven’t gone the way I’ve plan but I was able to do my job there in that situation,” Marte said through a translator. “There’s a lot of baseball left and I have a lot of confidence in myself.”
One out later, Ahmed sent a 1-1 fastball into the left field bullpen for his second homer.
Kelly (2-1) pitched seven scoreless innings, holding the Cardinals to two hits with four strikeouts and one hit batter.
“It was fun. Any time the other guy is putting up zeroes, you want to try and go out and match him,” Kelly said. “You want to pitch as well if not better than the other guy.”
He’s allowed four total earned runs in his first five starts.
“The amount of balls I’ve feel like I’ve seen the other team hit hard off him is like none,” Ahmed said. “No one is taking good swings off him.”
Noe Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth. Ian Kennedy gave up a leadoff walk before retiring the side in the ninth to pick up his first save and preserve the shutout.
“Ian’s been out there four out of five now,” Luvullo said. “He made pitches when he had to. It was…