Kennedy's struggles continue in loss vs. Cards

Kennedy's struggles continue in loss vs. Cards

Kennedy's struggles continue in loss vs. Cards
ST. LOUIS -- Tuesday's game with the Cardinals was typical for Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

There were missed opportunities, breaks that didn't go Arizona's way and, in the end, frustration as the Cardinals beat the D-backs, 8-2, at Busch Stadium.

Kennedy felt like he made a couple of good pitches that got hit for homers and two throwing errors by him in the seventh allowed the Cardinals to tack on some insurance runs.

"I think for the whole team it's been like that," Kennedy said when asked about the frustration. "Usually those bounces and crazy plays happen on our side. We've just got to grind through it."

In 2011, the D-backs did get a lot of the breaks and Kennedy benefited as he racked up 21 wins.

In 2012, the D-backs have struggled to put together a sustained run and Kennedy has been unable to find consistency.

"He's not throwing the ball exactly like he was last year and he's having a little different luck," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Kennedy, who fell to 10-10. "Maybe not quite as much life on his ball, but he's learning how to deal with that."

Through the first three innings, Kennedy kept the potent Cardinals offense at bay.

After Allen Craig led off the fourth with a single, Kennedy tried to go inside with a fastball to Matt Holliday. Kennedy got the 90 mph heater where he wanted to, but Holliday was able to pull his hands in and keep the ball barely fair as it sailed into the upper deck in left.

"He just did a really good job of hitting right there," Kennedy said.

Said Gibson, "Not many people do that to that ball. It was a good pitch, a quality pitch inside. You've got to give the guy credit. Not many people can execute that. It was pretty bad for us, but you've got to give him credit on that. He knows what he's doing and he's been doing it for a long time. He can get anybody."

John Jay led off the sixth with a home run to right to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

Kennedy thought the pitch, a changeup, was in a decent spot, but Gibson said the pitch to Jay was "really the only mistake he made."

The homers were the 22nd and 23rd Kennedy has allowed on the season, tied for the most in the National League.

"You're going to give up home runs," Kennedy said. "It's part of the game. Anytime I give up runs I'm going to try and make adjustments."

Meanwhile, the D-backs could do little against St. Louis starter Joe Kelly. The right-hander held Arizona to just four hits through six innings.

"He was throwing the ball hard with movement," D-backs outfielder Justin Upton said of Kelly. "He pounded the zone and mixed in breaking pitches when he needed to. He kept us off balance and kept us off his fastball and we just couldn't get him."

The D-backs were finally able to break through in the seventh when Justin Upton led off with a single to right and Miguel Montero followed with a home run to center to pull Arizona to within a run of the Cards.

"I went back and looked at the video -- it was a good changeup," Kelly said of Montero's homer. "That guy has just been hitting well. He's a great hitter and put a good swing on it. I tip my hat and try to go after the next batter."

Things unraveled for Kennedy in the bottom half of the inning as he committed a pair of throwing errors that led to two unearned runs and a 5-2 St. Louis lead.

On the first throwing error, Kennedy had trouble getting the ball out of his glove when he fielded a bunt and then his throw hit the hand of the runner, which knocked it away from the first baseman's glove.

Then on a second bunt, Kennedy turned to third to force a runner and wound up overthrowing third baseman Ryan Wheeler, who was racing to get back to the bag.

"We come back in the seventh with Miggy, a two-run home run, but we fell apart with two errors on two bunt plays," Gibson said. "That's what kills you against good teams."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.