- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Casey Kelly was able to put his rough start behind him.

His long road back from reconstructive elbow surgery was over and he was back on the mound for the San Diego Padres.

A.J. Pollock hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in his first two at-bats, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Padres 6-3 on Friday night in Kelly’s first big league start in just under three seasons.

Kelly, acquired along with three other players in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston in December 2010, last started for the Padres on Sept. 27, 2012. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery on April 1, 2013.

“It was such a great feeling. I was so excited to be able to come out and start at home after such a long time,” Kelly said. “The thing about the whole rehab process is you try to stay positive and I knew I was going to be back one day and was glad it could be sooner rather than later.”



He made four minor league starts last year and 31 appearances in the minors this year, including 17 starts, before being recalled from Triple-A El Paso on Sept. 14. He pitched two innings in relief last Saturday.

Kelly (0-1) allowed six runs and six hits in five innings, struck out one and walked one.

After the grand slam, he retired his final 11 batters.

“After the first tough couple of innings I felt like I settled down and started to work the ball down and really started some offspeed pitches,” he said. “Every outing you are going to have some tough things go on but try to take the positives out of it and try to keep moving forward.”

Kelly was roughed up early, allowing three straight hits with one out in the first, including Pollock’s RBI single and Paul Goldschmidt’s run-scoring double.

It got worse in the second. Kelly hit Brandon Drury with a pitch leading off the inning and allowed singles to Ender Inciarte and Phil Gosselin before Pollock hit his slam an estimated 427 feet to straightaway center field. It was his 19th homer overall.

“Early on they put some good swings on some decent pitches,” Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said. “It wasn’t that he was way behind in the count and missing badly. They just saw the ball good and he left a few pitches over the plate.

“Quite frankly, I’m sure he was a little jittery in his first start in a lot of years.”

Arizona’s Rubby De La Rosa (14-8), who underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 9, 2011, reached a career high in wins. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.

Brad Ziegler pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances, and 26th straight, the longest active streak in the majors.

Wil Myers and Alexi Amarista hit RBI singles for the Padres.

KEEP AN EYE OUT

With runners on first and third and two outs in the sixth, San Diego left-handed pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson settled into the batter’s box against Arizona right-hander Randall Delgado, but then stepped out and summoned a trainer, who looked at his eyes. Dickerson was lifted for Brett Wallace, another lefty. “We were obviously trying to induce them to bring in a lefty. So he had something in his eye,” Murphy said. “There won’t be a surgical procedure to get rid of it.” Arizona didn’t bite. Back in the dugout, a trainer put drops in Dickerson’s eyes. Wallace struck out to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Arizona: INF Nick Ahmed remains out with a sore lower back.

San Diego: 3B Yangervis Solarte was out of the lineup with a sore right hamstring.

UP NEXT

Arizona: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (9-10, 4.73) is scheduled to start the middle game of the series. He’s 1-3 with an 8.37 ERA in five starts against San Diego this season.

San Diego: LHP Robbie Erlin (0-1, 21.00) is scheduled to start for the Padres.

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