PHOENIX (AP) — Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson moved Miguel Montero down to eighth in the lineup in hopes that it would give him a spark, playing a hunch that he might come up in a big situation.
He was right on both counts.
Hitting before the pitcher for the first time in two years, Montero hit a tiebreaking homer off the right-field foul pole in the eighth inning, helping the D-backs beat the Phillies 3-2 Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
“One of the things when you’re hitting eighth is that you have to tell yourself you might come up in a situation where you can do something good, which he did,” Gibson said. “It was huge for us.”
The Diamondbacks struggled most of the night against Phillies starter Tyler Cloyd, managing two hits off him in 6 2/3 innings. They came through when he went out, though, scoring a run in the seventh when Martin Prado broke a 29 at-bat hitless streak with runners in scoring position, then taking the lead when Montero hit the first pitch thrown by Mike Adams (1-3) in the eighth that curled toward the foul pole in right and just caught it.
Tony Sipp (2-1) got two outs in the eighth inning and David Hernandez worked out of a jam in the ninth for his first save, sending Arizona to its sixth win in seven games.
“I knew the ball was gone, but you have so much bad luck that I was running around and was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that ball is going to go foul,'” Montero said. “I was fortunate enough to hit the pole. It feels great to help the team, because I’ve been disappointed in myself not being able to hit the ball the way I wanted.”
The Phillies jumped on Kennedy early, starting with Rollins’ 44th career leadoff homer, which tied him with Brady Anderson for fourth all-time. They scored another run in the first inning but struggled the rest of the way against Kennedy and couldn’t score against Hernandez with runners on second and third with one out in the ninth.
Laynce Nix made the second out in the ninth with a soft infield pop-up, and Hernandez ended the game by getting Rollins to ground out to first.
“We broke through, but we made some mistakes,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “At the same time, we got four hits in that (first) inning, but we didn’t capitalize on better opportunities, then we didn’t add on during the game.”
Kennedy has labored since beating the Cardinals on Opening Day, allowing four or more runs three times during a six-game winless streak. The right-hander lost to the Padres after allowing four runs in seven innings in his last outing and got off to a rough start against the Phillies.
Rollins hit the first pitch of the game out to right, and Domonic Brown followed a walk and a double with a run-scoring single that put the Phillies up 2-0.
Kennedy found a rhythm after that, allowing a single in the second inning and no other hits until Ben Revere led off the seventh with a single. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom half after allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
“It was his best outing of the season, especially those last two innings,” Gibson said.
Cloyd was just as good. The right-hander pitched six games for the Phillies in 2012, going 2-2, and opened this season in the minors. He was called up to start against the Diamondbacks after Roy Halladay went out with a shoulder injury.
Making his season debut in one of baseball’s most hitter-friendly parks didn’t seem to bother the 25-year-old.
In the first inning, Eric Chavez lined a double to the right-field corner, and Paul Goldschmidt just beat John Mayberry’s throw after running through — almost literally — third-base coach Matt Williams’ stop sign.
Cloyd had the Diamondbacks guessing after that, working around a pair of walks in the fourth inning with a double play and allowing no hits until Cody Ross hit a one-out single to left in the seventh.
He was lifted after that but didn’t figure into the decision, as Ross tagged up on Jason Kubel’s long fly to center to get into scoring position and scored on Martin Prado’s run-scoring single off Antonio Bastardo with two outs.
Cloyd allowed two hits and struck out four but is headed back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Right-hander Justin De Fratus will be called up to take his spot on the roster.
“They told me no matter what happened tonight, they were going to end up sending me down,” Cloyd said. “I have to go down there and keep going, keep myself in a position to come back up and help them out again.”
NOTES: Rollins’ leadoff homer gave the Phillies 14 straight solo shots. … Phillies RHP Roy Halladay, who’s out with a shoulder injury, thanked Philadelphia fans for their support before Friday’s game and apologized to the ones who were angry that he pitched while hurt. “I just want the fans to know I’m thinking about them,” he said. “I don’t take that for granted. I don’t take playing for Philadelphia for granted.” … D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill, who will start against the Phillies on Saturday, has allowed four runs in 20 innings (1.80) his last three starts. … Left-hander Cliff Lee will start for the Phillies after allowing two runs in eight innings against the Giants his last start.