Ian Kennedy brought it in a big, bad way on the mound last night at Chase Field. The red-haired right-hander engaged in a stellar pitcher's duel with all-star ace Clayton Kershaw during the Arizona Diamondbacks' 1-0 win with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Their victory in the opening match-up of a rare two-game series with L.A. allowed the D-backs (70-72) to gain a game on the Dodgers (74-68) in the National League West standings.
The two pitchers were evenly matched and went mano-a-mano for roughly seven straight innings. Both racked up a similar amount of strikeouts (Kershaw fanned five while Kennedy K'd six) and permitted a near-equal amount of hits.
When it came to giving up runs, however, Kershaw blinked first, which gave the D-backs the win over their division foes. Too bad it will likely prove to be a futile victory.
After a troubling season, many Diamondbacks fans (ourselves included) wondered if Kennedy still had the goods. His performance last night proved that, indeed, he still has the same mojo that allowed him to be the team's ace in 2011. It begs the question, however, of why such a performance had to come so late in the season when Arizona is 10 games out of first place and their chances of making the playoffs are almost nil.
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Regardless, Kennedy put zeroes up on the scoreboard into the eighth before handing things over to the Diamondbacks' bullpen, who were also pimp last night. Brad Ziegler brought about a double play to end the inning and David Hernandez struck out two en route to a scoreless final frame.
Kershaw, however, had provided a scoreless performance until the seventh when Paul Goldschmidt led off the inning with a grounder and wound up reaching first after a throwing error. Two batters later, Miguel Montero walloped the baseball into the gap in left-center to give Goldy enough time to round the bases and score the fatal run.
Arizona will go for the sweep in the two-game series tonight at Chase Field when Trevor Cahill (10-11, 3.98 ERA) takes on Aaron Harang (9-8, 3.75). First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.