Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1

Another poor offensive showing turned the defending NL Central

champions into a break-even team.

Ian Kennedy overcame a nasty spill and pitched into the sixth

inning before his ankle stiffened on Wednesday night, leading the

Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3-1 victory that dropped the Cincinnati

Reds to .500 for the first time since May 8.

Kennedy was the key to the Diamondbacks’ third straight win.

Kennedy also had a run-scoring groundout off Bronson Arroyo (2-2),

who got little help from a struggling offense.

The Reds have lost six of seven, falling to 9-9. The last time

they had a break-even mark was 30 games into last season.

”As long as we don’t panic and continue to work hard, it’ll be

great,” manager Dusty Baker said. ”I’m as positive as I’ve ever

been. I’m not happy, but I’m positive.”

The Reds’ offense was rolling at top speed when they opened the

season with five wins. They got off to their best start since 1990

even though they were missing two starting pitchers with Homer

Bailey and Johnny Cueto sidelined by shoulder problems.

With the offense drying up, that early momentum has

vanished.

”You keep plugging away,” Baker said. ”I try to be more

positive. People want you to yell at them and kick them, but that

makes them feel worse. Nobody feels worse that those guys, but

there’s a whole bunch of ball left. People got spoiled by our

start, but even when we were winning, we weren’t whole.”

For the third game in a row, the Reds had trouble putting hits

together. They’ve managed only 13 hits in the last three. J.J. Putz

got his fifth save in five chances, needing only seven pitches in a

perfect ninth.

Justin Upton had a sacrifice fly, and Ryan Roberts added an RBI

double off Arroyo, who retired 15 batters in a row after another

slow start.

Willie Bloomquist and Kelly Johnson opened the game with

doubles, and Upton’s sacrifice fly made it 1-0. The Reds have been

outscored 22-12 in the first inning this season, by far their

worst.

Stephen Drew doubled and scored on Kennedy’s groundout in the

second, starting a streak of 15 straight batters retired by Arroyo

– an indication he’s getting back to normal after coming down with

mononucleosis during spring training.

”They got to me early on with a couple of runs,” Arroyo said.

”That was something you try to avoid. When you’re in a rut like

this, you want to start with a lead first. I made a couple of

adjustments. I tried to slow things down and simplify things. I

tried to play a mental chess game with them.

”We just weren’t able to get anything going. We’re just not

getting the big hits right now.”

Roberts doubled home a run in the seventh for a 3-1 lead, ending

Arroyo’s outing.

”Arroyo did a good job,” Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said.

”Fortunately we got a couple of hits in good situations. And Ian

was on.”

Kennedy handled the Reds in Arizona on April 8, allowing one run

and six hits over eight innings in a 12-2 victory. He was tough on

them again Wednesday, giving up four hits, including Joey Votto’s

run-scoring double in the sixth.

Kennedy overcame a nasty tumble in the fifth, when one of his

pitches came right back at him.

Jay Bruce’s grounder smacked off the outside of Kennedy’s lower

right leg during his follow-through. The shot knocked the leg out

from under him, leaving him sprawled on his back. The ball

deflected into foul territory for a single.

A trainer checked the leg, and Kennedy threw several practice

pitches. He struck out the next batter, Jeremy Hermida. When he

went to the bench, the ankle started swelling. He left after giving

up Votto’s RBI double in the sixth.

NOTES: Arizona 3B Melvin Mora missed his second straight game

with a sore left foot. … Bailey will have his next rehab start

pushed back a couple of days because of stiffness. Bailey threw

five scoreless innings for Triple-A Louisville on Sunday. He was

expected to start again on Friday, but will get a few extra days to

recover. … Cueto will make his second rehab start for Louisville

on Thursday.