Young, Kennedy help stop D-backs' skid at six

Young, Kennedy help stop D-backs' skid at six

Young, Kennedy help stop D-backs' skid at six
LOS ANGELES -- Turns out a visit to Dodger Stadium was all the D-backs needed to get themselves back in the win column.

Behind a solid outing from right-hander Ian Kennedy and a home run by Chris Young, the D-backs snapped their six-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Dodgers on Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd.

The D-backs have won seven straight games against the Dodgers and are 5-1 this year at Dodger Stadium.

"Let's make it eight tomorrow," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We know they're a very good team. We know we're capable of playing better, and let's hope that we get on a very good run here."

They certainly need to if they want to make the postseason. Even with the win, the D-backs remained 9 1/2 games behind the Giants in the National League West. After the four-game series with the Dodgers, the D-backs travel to San Francisco for three games and San Diego for another three.

"We need to put a good stretch together here on this road trip," Kennedy said. "We have a tough schedule ahead of us, but I think we're up for the task."

Kennedy (12-11) did his part as he outdueled Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in their fourth career matchup.

The D-backs didn't score in the first three innings against Kershaw, but they did have good at-bats against him.

"You have to give credit to the Diamondbacks," Kershaw said. "They put really good at-bats on me all night, fought deep into the count, fouled a lot of balls off and did a good job."

The D-backs broke through against Kershaw (12-8) in the fourth, when Miguel Montero led off the inning with a double and Young followed by hitting a 2-2 pitch into the seats down the left-field line to give Arizona a 2-0 advantage.

"First couple of strikes I was trying get the runner over from second," Young said. "I was looking for something out over, but he was pounding me in pretty good. I was able to get back into a good count. After you get a couple of strikes on you, you just go into battle mode and try to put the barrel on the ball. You don't really worry about trying to push the ball to second base anymore, and he just happened to leave a cutter-slider over the plate."

When he hit the ball, Young knew that it was gone, but he wasn't sure if it would be fair or foul. Young was so focused on watching whether it stayed fair that he failed to touch first base. He quickly stopped and touched the bag before continuing around the bases.

Kennedy was in complete command through the first six innings as he held the Dodgers to just two hits. The only runner the Dodgers managed to get to second base over that span was Shane Victorino, who led off the fourth with a single and eventually moved up on a groundout.

"The difference is when you execute you're game plan looks a lot better," Kennedy said. "Really, pitching is about executing and I executed a lot more tonight."

Things got interesting in the seventh, when Andre Ethier drew a one-out walk and Kennedy followed by hitting Luis Cruz with a pitch to put runners at first and second.

Gibson brought in reliever Brad Ziegler, who leads all Major League relievers in ground-ball double plays.

"He's been really clutch in those situations," Kennedy said of Ziegler.

Ziegler got Juan Rivera to put the ball on the ground, but it took a diving backhanded play by Aaron Hill to turn a potential single up the middle into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.

"Ziggy's been doing a great job," Gibson said. "His ball has really been sinking lately."

The first two Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth reached base against closer J.J. Putz, but the right-hander was able to retire the next three hitters to record his 18th straight save and 27th of the season.

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.