D-backs snap 17-game losing streak

Kelly delivers gem after Herges' pregame message: 'It stops tonight'

June 22nd, 2021

PHOENIX -- During their pregame meeting to go over the scouting report on the opposing team's hitters, D-backs pitching coach Matt Herges looked at starting pitcher .

"It stops tonight," Herges said.

"Yes, it does," Kelly replied.

"It" of course did not need to be spelled out, because every player in that clubhouse knew what "It" was -- a soul-crushing, club-record 17-game losing streak that had spanned 20 long days and plenty of sleepless nights.

Kelly went out and backed up his words, tossing seven outstanding innings as the D-backs beat the Brewers, 5-1, on Monday night at Chase Field.

"The joy that comes with winning in the big leagues," veteran catcher Stephen Vogt said, "I say it all the time, the best thing on the planet outside of family is winning in The Show. And getting to shake hands after the game and the smiles that come from winning in The Show, you never want to take one of them for granted."

They certainly didn't on Monday night.

When the ball fell into center fielder Ketel Marte's glove for the final out of the game, manager Torey Lovullo shared an embrace with his coaches and stood in the corner of the dugout and waited until the last person from the bullpen made their way by to congratulate them.

Music blared in the clubhouse and players hung around longer than usual to revel in the feeling.

"I tried to tell you before the game, you have no idea what's happening inside of our clubhouse on a daily basis and the pain that we were feeling after a game," Lovullo said. "There's excitement in that clubhouse tonight that's well deserved. And it's a night where I'm sure a lot of people inside of this organization will have a very, very good night's rest, and we all deserve that."

Kelly called it a team effort, but both Vogt and Lovullo pointed to Kelly as the key.

The right-hander gave up a run in the first inning, but that was it as he held Milwaukee to just three hits before departing after seven innings. It was the first time an Arizona pitcher completed seven innings since Kelly did so on May 20 in a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers.

"I knew he had it under control, and I just can't say enough about the job he did just putting us on his shoulders," Vogt said.

The D-backs hoped Sunday afternoon's six-run rally in the eighth inning that resulted in a 9-8 loss to the Dodgers would give the offense some momentum. If it did, it waited until the second inning to register.

The first seven D-backs hitters reached base in the second, and during that stretch, Brewers starter Brett Anderson was forced to leave the game due to right knee discomfort.

The D-backs wound up with three runs in that inning, and they added another two in the fourth to pad their lead.

Suddenly, a team that had been stuck so often playing from behind during its losing streak found itself in the pole position. And as the innings went on, the anticipation grew.

"Especially once we got the five runs and it was 5-1, I think everybody kind of sensed it in the dugout, like, you know, this is our time," Kelly said. "If we didn't get this one, I don't know what would have happened. But like I said, I'm glad we did."

No one was in a hurry to stop the celebration on Monday night, but come Tuesday, the D-backs have another game to play, and they have to face one of the league's better pitchers in Freddy Peralta, who came within five outs of a no-hitter when he faced the D-backs on June 4 in Milwaukee.

"Now it's time to turn it around and start winning games," Lovullo said. "And that's our intent. I want this group to feel good about what they've done. This incredible journey that we've all been on over the past several weeks, I can't explain it. I can't explain why it happened. But we need to enjoy [tonight] and come out and expect to win another baseball game tomorrow. That's going to be my message to them."