This stretch of games against the Rockies and A's is important to give them some momentum heading into what figures to be a tough Interleague road trip to Texas and Anaheim.
"It's real important, because you're starting to see the Giants playing better and the Dodgers are starting to get a little banged up," right-hander Ian Kennedy said. "And we need to play well, continue to play well, especially in the next couple stretches."
After losing five straight starts, Kennedy seems back on track. Tuesday he tossed six shutout innings while matching his career high with 12 strikeouts.
"Kennedy, he was really good tonight," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He had a terrific changeup. He's had it for quite a while, but tonight he had it whenever he needed it. Out of the hand, they were on the plate, but once we swung at them, they were off the plate. He did a terrific job."
The only negative for Kennedy was that the strikeouts ate up a lot of pitches, so after throwing 122 pitches in his last start, he was only able to go six innings this time around, because D-backs manager Kirk Gibson did not want to push him beyond the 103 pitches he had thrown.
"I'll go as long as they tell me," Kennedy said. "I felt good. I felt like I was throwing a lot of strikes and getting ahead of guys, which is what we're trying to do."
Kennedy's job was made much easier by an offense that collected a season-high hit total and gave him some early runs to work with.
Aaron Hill started the offensive onslaught when he smacked a two-run homer in the second inning off Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie (3-4).
One inning later, Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer, and the D-backs, who were shut out by the Rockies the night before, led, 4-0.
The D-backs wound up chasing Guthrie in the fourth as a two-run single by Kubel and an RBI single by Chris Young expanded Arizona's lead to 7-0.
"It's nice to have your offense give you that support," Kennedy said. "It makes you pitch a lot different, and it makes you feel like you can hit your spot and you have that cushion. It definitely makes you real comfortable out there."
Gerardo Parra hit the D-backs' third long ball of the evening with a solo shot in the eighth inning to set the tone for a three-run frame that ended with Hill, who added to his homer with a triple in the fifth and a single in the seventh, falling short of hitting for the cycle by striking out.
"Just an all-around great effort," Gibson said of his offense.
Kennedy has benefited from a suggestion that bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas made before his last start. While Kennedy declined to specify what the adjustment Motuzas suggested, he said it was a slight tweak to his mechanics.
"I just make sure I've been doing that," Kennedy said. "It just kind of helped me stay on top of the ball. Really I was just pushing a lot and whatever he told me, it helped. When I'm out there, I just tell myself that little key, which might be just a little mental thing, but it feels like the ball is coming out of my hand a little better."