The Arizona Diamondbacks were looking to keep their hopes alive of making the postseason by defeating the Chicago Cubs on Friday night, but to no avail. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Washington Nationals, mathematically eliminating the D-Backs from playoff contention.
Still, Arizona planned and continues to plan on playing out the season with full effort, according to manager Kirk Gibson. Tonight's game was no exception.
Things started off shaky for Arizona as Ian Kennedy walked two batters and loaded the bases after Starlin Castro hit an infield single. Luckily, the Diamondbacks had already recorded two outs and a strikeout of Luis Valbuena ended the inning with no damage done.
A double by Adam Eaton to lead off the bottom of the first got things started for the Diamondbacks. That big hit was followed up by his fellow 2012 AAA callup, A.J. Pollock, who hit a double of his own, scoring Eaton. Flyouts from Aaron Hill, Justin Upton and Cody Ransom ended the inning with the score standing at 1-0.
A dry spell occurred for the next three innings, with no team recording a hit. Ian Kennedy was up to four strikeouts on the evening when he gave up a two out double to Valbuena in the top of the fourth. Once again, the Cubs left a man on base, their fourth of the night at the time, when Welington Castillo grounded out to short.
Cody Ransom's home run in the fourth inning gave the Diamondbacks some insurance, putting them up 2-0. It was his eleventh of the season and the Diamondbacks' 156th on the year. But that lead was surrendered when Dave Sappelt hit his second homer of the year, tying the game at two. That marked the 28th home run Kennedy has given up this season.
Aaron Hill broke the tie once again in the bottom of the fifth when he hit a gapper to center field, scoring Kennedy from second base. Hill was then able to find his way back to the dugout after Upton hit his 16th bomb of the year to left field. Hill's double gave him his 79th RBI of the season, the second most of any second baseman to ever play for the Diamondbacks.
Sadly, as the Diamondbacks went on this scoring tear, the NL scoreboards in the outfield displayed a final of the St. Louis Cardinals winning 12-2 over the Nationals, mathematically ending Arizona's chances of reaching the playoffs.
A double from Starlin Castro, who had an impressive night from the batter's box, made the score 5-3 in the sixth. Kennedy was unable to make it through the inning after throwing his sixth walk of the game, putting a man on first and third with two outs. Matt Albers came on in relief and was able to get a groundout to end the inning. Then when Albers got into trouble in the seventh, Matt Lindstrom came on to clean up his bases loaded mess.
An error in the bottom of the eighth after a Justin Upton infield single sealed the deal for the Cubs, plating Aaron Hill from second base. John McDonald followed that up with an RBI single to score Upton and made the score 7-3.
Adam Eaton kept the ball rolling with a base hit up the middle with the bases loaded, giving Arizona an 8-3 advantage.
Kennedy went 5.2 innings in the game and gave up 4 hits, 3 earned runs, 6 walks while throwing 104 pitches and earning 5 strikeouts. His opponent, Travis Wood went 5 innings, giving up 5 earned runs, 2 homers and 3 walks. Kennedy's ERA on the season is now at 4.16 and could remain there with the possibility of this being his final start of the season.
With tonight's victory, Kennedy reached his 15th win of the season, the second consecutive time he has done so. He joins Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to record at least two consecutive seasons with at least 15 wins, according to Arizona Sports.
For more on the Arizona Diamondbacks, head over to AZ Snake Pit.