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WATCH: Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks hold off Chicago Cubs

Jul 18, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 18, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Merrill Kelly struck out six in eight innings and did not walk a batter, and Eduardo Escobar hit his 21st home run of the season in a 6-4 victory Sunday over the Chicago Cubs in Phoenix.

Kelly (6-7) came close to the first complete game of his three-year major league career but was relieved with no outs in the ninth inning after Kris Bryant doubled and Javier Baez brought him home with a single.

Joakim Soria retired the first two batters he faced before Rafael Ortega hit a double to score Baez and cut Arizona’s lead to 6-4.

Soria struck out Willson Contreras looking to end the game for his fourth save.

Escobar’s two-run home run proved to be the difference with one out in the eighth off reliever Rex Brothers. His homer scored Josh Rojas, who walked four times in the game.

Kelly limited the Cubs to six hits, three of which occurred in the sixth, and tallied only 82 pitches (63 of them strikes).

Arizona took a 2-0 lead after five innings behind an RBI single by Pavin Smith in the fourth and a run-scoring single by Kole Calhoun in the fifth.

Kelly allowed only one hit heading into the top of the fifth inning before the Cubs strung together hits with two outs.

Robinson Chirinos led off the fifth with a ground-rule double and wound up on third base on the second out of the inning on a ground out to second by Anthony Rizzo.

Bryant followed with a double that scored Chirinos and Baez singled to score Bryant to tie the game at 2.

Chicago starter Zach Davies and four relievers combined for 11 walks. Dan Winkler (1-2) was the losing pitcher with two walks that led two runs in the seventh inning.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the seventh before Nick Ahmed hit a slow roller toward first base in which Chirinos only had a play at first base for the second out.

Escobar, who walked to lead off the inning, scored on the play.

A wild pitch by Brothers allowed Christian Walker (who reached on a hit-by-pitch) to come home to increase the lead to 4-2.

–Field Level Media