Ian Kennedy has had, as his manager Kirk Gibson said, ”a pretty good week so far.”
After making an early return from New York to be with his wife Allison for the arrival of the couple’s child, Nora Rose, at 2:04 a.m. on Sunday, Kennedy outpitched Cliff Lee with a three-hitter and his first major league complete game in a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night that snapped the Phillies’ five-game winning streak.
”It’s been surreal,” Kennedy said. ”Not expecting her to come when my Allie went into labor, then flying in from New York, which is about the farthest place I could be, then watching that life-changing experience. .. It was just the cherry on top to do that (the complete game). I get emotional just thinking about it. The day after she was born – my little Easter baby.”
The Diamondbacks snapped a four-game skid as they opened a 10-game home stand after being swept in three games by the Mets in New York.
Kennedy (3-1) struck out 10 – including Jimmy Rollins to end the game – and walked none.
”To shut our lineup down like that, he was definitely doing something right,” Lee said. ‘I wouldn’t expect him to go nine innings without giving up a run. That’s impressive.”
Lee gave up first-pitch home runs to Chris Young and Gerardo Parra in an otherwise strong performance.
”They ambushed a couple of first pitches and hit homers,” Lee said. ”Considering how Kennedy pitched, that was the game.”
Lee (2-2) gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings, matching his season high with 12 strikeouts, one shy of his career high, and walking one.
”The one to Young (a fastball) had a little more of the plate than I like but still I want to be aggressive, I want to throw strikes and get ahead in the count,” Lee said. ”He put a good swing on it. The other homer (a cut fastball), I’ll take that pitch every time. I mean, I just have to tip my hat on that one.”
Placido Polanco doubled and singled for the Phillies in a game that went just 2 hours, 4 minutes. The only other hit off Kennedy was Rollins’ ground ball off the glove of second baseman Kelly Johnson that easily could have been ruled an error. Run scoring has been a problem for Philadelphia, despite the team’s early success.
”We’ve just got to keep going to work on it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ”Either we’re going to do it or we’re not. We’re going to keep working. We’ve got to fight every day,”
Xavier Nady had an RBI single in the sixth after Justin Upton drew just the fourth walk Lee has allowed this season, then stole second.
Kennedy, making his 49th career start, had allowed a run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings in his previous outing, a 3-1 victory at Cincinnati. Gibson had no doubt about sending him out for the ninth.
”He didn’t have any taxing innings or anything like that so I wanted him to finish that game,” Gibson said. ”You get a performance like that it is important that it is his game and he goes for the shutout.”
Lee was perfect through the first two innings, but gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Roberts in the third. He struck out Parra and Kennedy to bring up Young, who had never faced the Phillies ace before popping out to second to start Arizona’s first inning.
Young, two for his previous 26 at-bats, hit a shot onto the porch above the 413-foot sign in left-center to put Arizona up 2-0.
Parra’s solo homer came after Roberts hit one to the right field fence that was caught by Ben Francisco for the first out in the fifth. Parra’s homer, into the left field seats, was only the ninth of his three-year career. He had three last season and five in 2009.
Arizona added a run in the fourth when Upton walked and stole second. Stephen Drew struck out for the third time, strongly arguing the called third strike with home plate umpire Bob Davidson, then Nady singled between third and shortstop to bring Upton home and make it 4-0.
Notes: RHP Michael Stutes pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his major league debut after Philadelphia purchased his contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He took the roster spot made vacant when closer Jose Contreras went on the 15-day DL with a strained elbow. Contreras is to have an MRI in Philadelphia on Tuesday. … The Phillies conclude a seven-game trip West in Arizona after going 4-0 in San Diego. … Philadelphia has not scored more than four runs in any of its past 14 games. … After three against the Phillies, the Diamondbacks play the Cubs three times then wrap up the home stand with three against Colorado.