Montero's late homer gives D-backs fifth straight win

Kennedy looks solid, allowing two runs over seven innings

Montero's late homer gives D-backs fifth straight win

PHOENIX -- When he was asked before the game about dropping slumping catcher Miguel Montero down to the No. 8 spot in the lineup, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he had a feeling Montero would come up in a key spot.

Four hours later, Montero smacked an eighth-inning home run off the right-field foul pole to lead the D-backs past the Phillies, 3-2, on Friday night at Chase Field.

The win was the fifth straight for the D-backs.

"It just worked out," Gibson said. "One of the things that I guess if you're hitting eighth you have to tell yourself, you might come up in a situation and do something good, which he did. It was huge for us."

Montero entered the game hitting just .198 and that dipped even lower when he made outs his first two trips to the plate.

"It's not a secret the average is not there," Montero said. "I've been feeling good the last couple of weeks, hitting the ball better and I've been feeling better at the plate."

When the ball left his bat, Montero knew it had the distance to get over the wall, but he was unsure if it would stay fair.

"I was fortunate enough the ball hit the pole," Montero said. "It feels great to help the team, because I've been disappointed with myself not being able to hit the ball the way I wanted or get the production I was expecting to. I've had so many opportunities and I haven't gotten it done and it stinks."

The game did not start off well for the D-backs or Ian Kennedy as he allowed a home run to Jimmy Rollins on the first pitch of the game.

In his last start, the final two batters he faced hit homers.

The Phillies went on to score another run in the inning to take a 2-0 lead and might have done more damage had Chase Utley not been thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple.

Kennedy, though, was able to settle down after the first and allowed just two more hits before departing after seven innings.

"The first two runs happened in the first inning and you can't really dwell on it too long, you just have to plug away," Kennedy said.

After struggling with his command for much of the season, Kennedy worked on fine-tuning his mechanics during his between-starts bullpen session.

In the first inning he was still feeling for the changes, but was finally able to incorporate them the way he needed.

"We would've liked to get to Kennedy more," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I thought we were going to score more runs off him. He was off to a slow start, I thought if we stayed at him, we'd get him, but he held us. He bared down and held us. He stopped us."

While Kennedy was settling in, the offense chipped away at the deficit.

Eric Chavez's RBI double in the first was the lone damage the D-backs could do against Philadelphia's Tyler Cloyd, who was making his first start of the year in place of the injured Roy Halladay.

Cody Ross' one-out single in the seventh spelled the end of the night for Cloyd and Antonio Bastardo was not able to hold the 2-1 lead as Martin Prado delivered a run-scoring single to tie the game at 2.

That Prado was allowed to hit was a bit of a surprise. With two outs and first base open and the left-handed Bastardo on the mound, the percentage play would have been to intentionally walk Prado to get to the left-handed-hitting Montero.

Entering the at-bat, Prado was 1-for-31 with runners in scoring position, but he was able to line a single to right.

"First of all, I thought they would walk me to get to the lefty," Prado said. "But I guess they gave me a chance to have a good at-bat. He made a couple pitches and the only thing I was trying to do was hit the ball hard. I was thinking the other way, the opposite way and finally he threw a fastball I could handle and, fortunately for us, we tied the game."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.