A pair of late home runs kept the Arizona Diamondbacks in sole possession of first in the NL West. Having Ian Kennedy(notes) on the mound might make them feel better about their chances of adding to their lead.
The right-hander will try to become the fourth Diamondbacks pitcher to win at least seven consecutive starts Friday night against the visiting New York Mets.
Arizona (65-53) moved one-half game ahead of San Francisco with a 6-3 victory over Houston on Wednesday, but seemed like it would give away that lead the next day.
The Diamondbacks trailed the Astros by two with two outs in the ninth inning Thursday before pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt(notes) tied the game with a home run to left field. Chris Young followed with a three-run shot in the 10th to lead his team to an 8-5 victory.
“I give these kids a lot of credit for their resiliency,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “The important thing is they keep grinding through.”
Kennedy (14-3, 3.20 ERA) will try to help his team to a fourth straight win by continuing his stellar run. Since giving up seven runs in a loss at Oakland on July 3, the right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.63 ERA and has struck out 34 batters while walking 10.
“It was just a typical Ian game,” Gibson said. “Lots of strikes. Lots of strikes. He just kept his composure.”
Another win Friday would make him the first Diamondbacks pitcher to win seven straight starts since Brandon Webb(notes) won his team-record 11th in a row in 2008. Randy Johnson(notes) had a pair of streaks of eight or more during his first stint with the team.
As he tries to join Roy Halladay(notes) as the NL’s only 15-game winners, Kennedy would probably prefer a better performance than in his previous outing against the Mets (58-59). However, he would gladly take the same end result.
Kennedy gave up five runs over six innings and walked four at Citi Field on July 30, 2010, but earned the win in a 9-6 victory. He fared better against New York at home earlier that same month, allowing one run and four hits over five innings of a 13-2 rout.
The Diamondbacks swept that three-game series, but were swept in Queens in their most recent matchup with the Mets from April 22-24.
He gave up five runs over five innings Sunday against Atlanta. The Mets rallied to tie the game, keeping Gee at 2-0 in four starts since the All-Star break, but lost 6-5.
“I’m just really disappointed. Obviously, I didn’t get the job done,” Gee said. “I hate to see (Bobby) Parnell come in and get a loss for a game that I really lost. I never really gave us a chance today.”
Gee allowed four runs - two earned - and five hits in six innings during his win over the Diamondbacks. He’ll try to earn another while keeping the Mets, losers in eight of 11, from dropping two games below .500 for the first time since June 24.