Kennedy One-Hits Bucs en Route to His 20th Win
By Josh Greene
Under a cloudless sky at Chase Field, Ian Kennedy rained down on the Pirates to become the National League’s first 20-game winner Monday.
The D-backs’ right-hander tossed eight innings of one-hit ball en route to a 1-0 victory. With a season-high and a career-high-tying 12 K’s, it was the fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year for Kennedy and his second in his last three starts.
The USC alum became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to reach the 20-win plateau, joining Curt Schilling (22 wins in 2001, 23 in ‘02), Randy Johnson (21 in ’01, 24 in ’02) and Brandon Webb (22 in ’08). It was Kennedy’s most dominant performance since his three-hit, 10-strikeout, complete game shutout win over the Phillies on April 25.
A half inning after giving up his lone Pittsburgh hit to opposing pitcher Jeff Karstens, the D-backs saved their biggest hit for last in the form of a broken bat homerun from All-Star Justin Upton in the sixth inning.
“Before the game, we knew we had to score for him,” Upton said. “We really wanted him to get his 20th win. So for us to be a part of it and for him to pitch so well, it was an exciting night for him. And it was an exciting night for us.”
After 113 pitches (76 strikes), Kennedy struck out the side in the eighth inning before giving way to J.J. Putz in the ninth for his 42nd save of the season.
“If he has a lead, he put it into shutdown mode,” Putz said. “That last inning, he was topping out at 94 (mph), and that was a big eye opener for me. He’s been the definition of the word ‘ace.’”
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