Arizona Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy pitched a one-hit masterpiece through eight innings last night at Chase Field to win his 20th game -- a milestone only reached by three other Diamondbacks pitchers (Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Brandon Webb) in franchise history.
But, more importantly, the D-Backs' magic number was reduced to four to win the National League West, with the San Francisco Giants idle and now 5 1/2 games back.
The Snakes won 1-0 on a Justin Upton broken-bat homer barely out of the reach of a Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder. The two-time All Star has super-serious power to carry the ball that far with a smashed-bat blast.
It was Upton's 31st round-tripper and broke a four-game slump for the slugger.
Thank God, becuse he has got to be full-force to face probable opponent, the Philadelphia Phillies, in the first round of the NL playoffs. The Phillies' pitching rotation is four-deep in future Hall-of Famers, and the City of Brotherly Love, by far, owns the best record in the Bigs this year.
In the bottom of the ninth last night, closer J.J. Putz scared the hell out of us by allowing a triple to center field. But, after that, he got a ground-out to first and a strikeout to end the game for his 42nd save.
It was the giddy Putz who hit Kennedy with a shaving-cream pie after the game.
Kennedy, 20-4, had the best night of his career, with 12 strikeouts in the one-hit, one-walk wonder. That only hit over his eight innings, unbelievably, was by opposing starting pitcher Jeff Karstens. Kennedy has won 12 of his last 13 decisions.
The D-Backs take on the Pirates for the second of a three-game series tonight at Chase. First pitch is scheduled at 6:40 p.m. Daniel Hudson (16-10, 3,39 ERA) will take the mound for Arizona against Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton (9-10, 3.81 ERA). TV: Fox Sports Net. For more information, go to www.diamondbacks.com.