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Kelly strikes out 10 in Diamondbacks’ 7-1 win over Mets
MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly throws in the first inning during a game against the New York Mets, Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Phoenix. (Rick Scuteri/AP)

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly throws in the first inning during a game against the New York Mets, Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Phoenix. (Rick Scuteri/AP)

PHOENIX — Midway through Saturday night’s game against the New York Mets, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo wondered what had happened to his team.

Mired in a nearly monthlong slump, the Diamondbacks were lethargic, seemingly on their way to yet another loss.

To not only pull out that victory, but win the series with the Dodgers coming to town was just what the Diamondbacks needed to get going back in the right direction.

Merrill Kelly struck out a career-high 10, Ketel Marte hit a long homer and had three RBIs, and the Diamondbacks beat the New York Mets 7-1 on Sunday.

“In the fifth inning yesterday, I was under the bench sucking my thumb. I didn’t know what to do,” Lovullo said. “I was like, ‘Where are we going, what are we doing, we’re not playing our type of baseball.’ It was really frustrating. It’s a perfect example of not shutting down and I’m proud of these guys.”

Lingering around the NL West lead heading into May, the Diamondbacks went into a funk. They had one five-game losing streak and were looking at a potential six-game slide after falling behind the Mets on Saturday night.

Arizona rallied to win that game 6-5 in 11 innings and kept the momentum going Sunday with a strong all-around game.

Marte got it started, hitting his first career leadoff home run against Steven Matz (4-4), a 482-foot shot that matched Texas’ Nomar Mazara for longest in the majors this season. He added a two-run single in the eighth.

Eduardo Escobar also hit a two-run shot in the first inning and Kelly (5-6) held the struggling Mets to six hits in 7 2/3 innings.

“I know we had a long week where we didn’t win, but we never give up,” Marte said.

Wilson Ramos homered and Amed Rosario had three hits for New York. Matz was the only other player with a hit for the Mets, who lost for the 17th time in their last 21 road games.

“Overall game, bad defense, bad pitching, no offense,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. “You are going to lose when you have those.”

Kelly was sharp after allowing four earned runs each of his past two starts.

The right-hander gave up Ramos’ solo homer in the second inning, but had the Mets swinging through his big-breaking curveball most of the day.

Kelly asked the trainer to come out after feeling nauseous warming up in the sixth inning, but stayed in the game. He was lifted after Rosario beat shortstop Nick Ahmed’s throw for his third single.

“I felt like I was going to have a special day as we got later in the game,” Kelly said.

New York lost five of seven on its trip and dropped to 28-31. The Mets have not been above .500 since before play on May 1.

“We can’t allow people to have their best games of their career against us,” Callaway said.

Matz allowed two earned runs or less in his previous three straight starts.

He gave up more than that in the first inning against the Diamondbacks.

Marte led off with a homer that landed on the concourse in left-center for the sixth-longest in Chase Field history. Escobar lifted his two-run shot just over the left field wall into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen to put Arizona up 3-0.

Arizona scored two more runs off Matz in the fifth inning on four straight two-out singles to go up 5-1.

The left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits and struck out five in six innings.

“It’s tough when you’re on your heels in the first inning,” Matz said. “You really have to grind to come back. I was able to go six and so that is the only positive I can take out of that.”

SUPPLE, NOT SUPPLE

When asked about Marte’s power numbers from the right side, Lovullo talked about the switch hitter’s swing suppleness from that side of the plate. After a few seconds, he changed his mind.

“Actually, let’s strike that from the record,” Lovullo said, drawing laughs. “That’s not a baseball term, I get it. There’s about 15 words: the F-word, the S-word, atta boy. That’s all we know, so let’s shut that word down.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: 1B Dominic Smith was a late scratch due to a sore right thumb. Aaron Altherr replaced him in the lineup and played left field and Pete Alonso was at first base.

Diamondbacks: OF David Peralta (shoulder) could be activated Monday after getting nine plate appearances in extended spring training on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 4.90 ERA) has won his last three starts with a 1.17 ERA against San Francisco. He will face Giants ace Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday.

Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (4-2, 3.59) is 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA and 56 strikeouts in eight starts heading into Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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