Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
The D-backs and Giants have grown accustomed to competing in ultra-competitive, one run games.
Thursday night’s series finale was no different. After the D-backs jumped ahead 2-0 in the sixth, San Francisco battled back to knot the score at 2-2 in the ninth.
The D-backs headed to extra innings in dire need of a rally in order to avoid a three game sweep at the hands of their division rivals.
It was Justin Upton who provided the striking blow in the 11th.
The hard-hitting right-hander crushed a first-pitch home run off Giants pitcher Santiago Casilla to seal the 3-2 walk-off win. It was Upton’s first career walk-off homer, and the 3rd walk-off long ball in team history.
“It’s awesome,” Upton said. “The fact that we just dropped two games and being able to win in that fashion, it’s hopefully a little bit of a boost for the team.”
Although Thursday night’s walk-off homer was the first of his career, Upton has tallied three walk-off hits this season. The first two were short, bloop singles to right field.
“Yeah, it’s a little better than the blooper,” Upton said. “The blooper left some suspense, and that was a little better.”
Kennedy turns in dominant performance
After a pair of excruciating losses to the Giants to start the series, the D-backs turned to ace Ian Kennedy on Thursday night in hopes of salvaging the series finale.
Like he’s done all season long, Kennedy delivered with a stellar pitching performance.
The right-hander unleashed eight innings of one run baseball. He held the Giants lineup to just four hits, walked one, and retired the side in order five times. By notching 10 strikeouts, he tied a season high, which was set on April 25th against the Phillies.
“I threw a lot of fastballs for strikes,” Kennedy said. “My command was pretty good. I just felt like I was trying to pound the zone as much as possible. I knew that they’re a good team, a good record. They’ve proven that you got to stay ahead of them, put them on the defense as soon as possible.”
In his 15 starts this season, Kennedy has now tossed six innings or more in 12 of them, including back-to-back eight inning outings in his previous two starts.
It was clear that Kennedy was locked and loaded from the start. In the opening inning, he retired Aaron Rowand on a fly out before striking out both Manny Burriss and Pablo Sandoval. Kennedy then sat down the next five Giants batters before allowing a two out single in the third.
An unearned run in the fifth was all Kennedy would surrender against the reigning World Champions. He quickly rebounded by posting a two strikeout, 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.
The seventh frame saw San Francisco rally by placing two runners on base. Kennedy had other plans as he recorded a pair of fly outs and a ground out to escape the jam. He then posted yet another 1-2-3 inning in his eighth and final inning of work.
Kennedy now owns a 1.81 career ERA against the Giants along with 49 strikeouts.
Young launches yet another homer at Chase
In his six seasons, D-backs centerfielder Chris Young has launched plenty of home runs out of Chase Field.
Against the Giants, Young drilled a 1-2 pitch into the left field bullpen for a two run homer in the fourth inning. That long ball was Young’s 14th of the season.
With that home run, Young has now hit 62 home runs at Chase Field in his career. That total is the most home runs hit in the ballpark by any player since 2006.