Record: 23-18. Pace: 91-71. Change on 2012: +5
It was A Tale of Two Ian Kennedys this afternoon at Chase Field. Kennedy retired the first eight Braves in a row with four strikeouts when Jordan Schafer and Andrelton Simmons hit infield singles (one of which should really be an error on Chavez) with two outs in the third inning. Kennedy then walked Justin Upton on four pitches and followed that up with a four-pitch walk to Freddie Freeman to walk in Atlanta's first run. He almost walked the next batter too, but Brian McCann popped up a 3-1 pitch for the third out. Kennedy had been at 33 pitches after two innings; he was nearly double that, at 59, after three.
The Diamondbacks had scored one run in the first inning on a two-out double by Paul Goldschmidt and a RBI single by Eric Chavez, so it was only tied at one apiece after the third. Kennedy had a 1-2-3 fourth inning, but the Braves took the lead in the fifth. Schafer reached on a bunt that Martin Prado threw away and he ended up at second base. (Out of the four hits that Kennedy had allowed to this point, three of them didn't leave the infield.) With two out, Upton reached on his second walk of the afternoon. With first base open, that might have been somewhat of a pitch-around, but Freeman made Kennedy pay by lacing a double to the left-center wall and driving in both runners for a 3-1 Braves lead.
Arizona then scored more runs in their half of the fifth inning than they had the previous two games combined. It started with a one-out walk to Jason Kubel (pinch hitting for Kennedy, who finished with 5IP, 3ER, 3BB, and 7K) and an infield single by Gerardo Parra. Didi Gregorius singled up the middle to score Kubel, and Parra stopped at second base. Goldschmidt then K'd on a strike that was most definitely outside for the second out. Tim Hudson had two strikes on former teammate Chavez and it looked like he would escape with the lead, but Chavvy went down and took one the opposite way, driving a ball to the left-center gap that made it look like B.J. Upton was running in slow motion out in the field. Both runners scored, and Arizona led 4-3. Cody Ross singled down the right field line to bring in Chavez for the 5-3 lead. Hudson, who had been dealing, was also done after five innings.
After that, the Diamondbacks bullpen performed just as it was built to do. Though it wasn't without a little drama, Matt Reynolds, Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez, and Heath Bell each pitched a scoreless inning of work. Kennedy earned the win, Bell the save, and the Diamondbacks took two of three to win the series against the Atlanta Braves.
No GDT comment counts or COTD today, due to SBNation's networking issues. The team now flies to the east coast for three against the Marlins then back west for three in Colorado.