ORIOLES (31-68) AT DIAMONDBACKS (51-50)
9:40 p.m. ET; FS-A, MASN 2, MLB.TV
Arizona Diamondbacks (-1.5) right fielder Adam Jones said Monday afternoon it would be only business when facing his former team.
Turns out, business is good.
Jones went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI Monday night in Arizona’s 6-3 victory to open a three-game series in Phoenix against the Baltimore Orioles (+1.5), who had been Jones’ team for the past 11 seasons.
His postgame message was the same.
“Business. It’s business,” Jones, hitting .272 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs in 91 games, told reporters. “You gotta do it the right way. I’m just trying to handle business and grind it out. The most important thing is the win.”
Arizona moved back over .500 at 51-50, in the midst of a crowded wild-card chase in the National League with the trade deadline coming up on July 31. Results in the next several games could determine whether the Diamondbacks will buy, sell or stand pat at the deadline, but Arizona needs to make hay in this series against the team with the worst record in baseball.
“At this point in time, we know it’s a hard deadline,” Jones said. “Let’s talk business. There are six, seven teams battling for the second (National League wild-card) playoff spot. The next week for teams is very important. We helped ourselves by getting a W.
“And we need to handle our business. The biggest thing I said this morning was I need to give this team 100 percent of me. I can’t worry about the past.”
Merrill Kelly (7-9, 3.77 ERA), Arizona’s starter on Tuesday, wouldn’t mind revisiting the past. He is coming off one of his best starts of the season, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings against the Milwaukee Brewers (-1.5) on Thursday.
“It seemed like he was in command of every pitch he threw,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Kelly. “When he’s in the strike zone, he’s east-west and he’s top-bottom. He can do it all. Right now he’s in a really good spot.”
Kelly, a 30-year-old rookie who pitched the past four years in South Korea, has been a mainstay of the D-backs’ rotation, but he is 0-3 in his past six starts. He received a no-decision against the Brewers last week.
He will be opposed Tuesday by fellow right-hander Dylan Bundy (4-11, 5.28 ERA), who is coming off the 10-day injured list after recovering from right knee tendinitis. He struggled before the time off, including a disastrous one-inning outing in which he gave up seven runs against the Tampa Bay Rays (+1.5) on July 12.
Bundy has yielded 17 runs in 17 innings in his past four starts.
“Just talked to (Bundy),” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde told reporters before Monday’s game. “Feels good and should be good to go.”
Bundy will have to contend with, among others, Arizona’s Ketel Marte, who has five consecutive two-hit games.
Baltimore’s Renato Nunez hit his team-leading 23rd home run of the season Monday night, and Hanser Alberto also homered as part of his three hits off Arizona left-handed starter Robbie Ray. Alberto is batting a major-league-best .409 (52-for-127) against lefties.
Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini went 0-for-4 Monday night but has two two-homer games in his past five outings.
“I feel really good,” Mancini said. “I feel like myself again. My timing is back. I’m starting to trust myself and trust my hands again.”
Orioles reliever Branden Kline, who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings Monday, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
–Field Level Media