Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview

The Associated Press

It's been almost a year since Ian Kennedy was last saddled with a loss at home.

The right-hander hopes to rebound from his first overall regular-season defeat since August when he tries to help the Diamondbacks avoid a fourth straight loss Tuesday night against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

Kennedy (3-1, 3.23 ERA) was 9-0 with a 2.34 ERA in his previous 12 regular-season starts before a 2-1 loss at Washington on Thursday. He allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings but suffered his first regular-season defeat since Aug. 18 at Philadelphia.

"It's always really tough when we lose these tough games,'' Kennedy said. "It's frustrating, I hate losing, it doesn't matter how it is.''

Though one of Kennedy's streaks has ended, he can extend another. He's 10-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 starts at home since losing to Florida on May 31. Despite his 4.58 ERA, Kennedy is 2-0 in three starts at Chase Field in 2012.

He was hardly solid while giving up nine runs in three innings of a 15-5 home loss to the Cardinals on April 13, 2011. Kennedy, however, allowed three in six innings of a 7-6 victory at Busch Stadium on July 8.

He'll look to help Arizona (14-16) get back on track after Joe Saunders allowed seven runs and three of St. Louis' five homers in 3 1-3 innings of Monday's 9-6 loss. The Diamondbacks rallied from a 7-0 deficit to score six times in the sixth after Lance Lynn shut them out over five and ultimately improved to 6-0.

"We'll come back (Tuesday)," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We'll play hard, but if we want to beat this team we have to play better."

Rafael Furcal opened the game with his second homer and added two more hits, while Carlos Beltran hit his eighth home run and Matt Holliday his sixth as the Cardinals (18-11) won their second straight after a season-high three-game skid.

St. Louis, which has scored in the first inning of seven straight games, has totaled 17 runs in the last two after being held to nine in the previous three.

"We have a lot of talent on this team and we are capable of doing that," said Allen Craig, who has homered in back-to-back games.

Holliday is 10 for 27 (.370) with two homers and seven RBIs in seven games this month. Craig has two home runs with nine RBIs while batting .421 (8 for 19) in five since coming off the disabled list after recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Scheduled starter Jake Westbrook (3-2, 2.12) yielded four earned runs in his first four starts before he gave up four and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 home loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in starts against teams other than the Pirates this season.

"I don't know. I can't explain it," Westbrook told the Cardinals' official website.

He gave up five runs - two earned - and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings while beating Kennedy last April at Chase Field, his only start against the Diamondbacks since 2005.

Arizona's Cody Ransom has never faced Westbrook, but he homered for the third time in his last five games Monday. The veteran infielder is batting .351 (13 for 37) with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 10 games since being recalled from the minors April 18.

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