PHOENIX -- Sports fans could have won a lot of winter bar bets knowing that Ian Kennedy had the most victories in the National League the past two seasons, 36. He took the first step Monday toward extended his run to three years.
Kennedy gave up two runs on five hits and struck out eight in seven innings during the Arizona Diamondbacks' 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener at Chase Field.
"That's kind of the old Ian we saw a couple of years ago," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Kennedy, who finished fourth in the 2011 NL Cy Young balloting after going 21-4. Kennedy went 15-12 last year.
"Awesome. I don't know how else to explain. He really got rolling. Had everything working. Fastball spotted well, pumped up to 94 (mph). Changeup was good. He had it all working for him."
A.J. Pollock had three hits and two RBI in his first Opening Day start, and the D-backs collected 15 hits. Pollock's two-run double to center capped a three-run fourth inning for a 3-1 lead off St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright, and Pollock added two singles.
"We were patient. It is all about hitting mistakes, and we were patient," said Pollock, in the lineup because projected outfield starters Adam Eaton and Cody Ross opened the season on the disabled list.
Gerardo Parra tied a career high with four hits, including three doubles, and Martin Prado, Jason Kubel and Aaron Hill also had two hits for Arizona.
Kennedy threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the first 25 batters he faced.
"It makes it a lot easier on yourself when you are ahead like that," Kennedy said.
Wainwright gave up 11 hits and four runs (three earned) in six innings to take the loss.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead into the fourth before Wainwright ran into trouble. Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt singled, and Kubel and Pollock doubled to put Arizona on top 3-1.
"The fourth inning I just didn't execute pitches, and they made me pay that inning," Wainwright said. "If I execute my pitches in that inning, we all have a different ballgame. Ian was throwing a great game on their side of it. I had great stuff early on. I just didn't execute."
Wainwright was pitching four days after signing a contract extension that will pay him $109.5 million through 2018. He was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA last year after missing the 2011 World Series season following elbow surgery.
Kennedy gave up consecutive one-out doubles in the first inning to Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday, but he did not allow another runner past first until Yadier Molina doubled and Daniel Descalso singled him home in the seventh to make it 4-2.
Descalso was thrown out at second when he tried to advance on the throw to the plate. The D-backs added two in the bottom of the inning. Parra and Prado doubled, and Montero hit a sacrifice fly.
"Probably not the right decision in that situation. If I did it over, I wouldn't have gone," Descalso said. "I hit it hard and I thought they might have a play at the plate, and second was sort of vacant for a split second. They did a good job of getting back over there. I was trying to be aggressive but was overaggressive there."
Wainwright was struck in the shoulder by a Parra line drive in the third inning, but he recovered to pick up the ball and throw out the batter at first. The Cardinals' trainer went to mound for a brief visit, but Wainwright stayed in the game.
The D-backs played without two-thirds of the starting outfield they had the past six years, Justin Upton and Chris Young, both of whom were traded in the offseason. Their nominal replacements, Eaton and Ross, are hurt. Those two are joined on the disabled list by infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist.
NOTES: The D-backs finalized their weekend pitching plans by announcing left-hander Wade Miley will start the first game of a three-game series at Milwaukee on Friday and left-hander Patrick Corbin will start Saturday. Corbin won the No. 5 spot in the rotation over right-hander Randall Delgado, who was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Sunday. Corbin was 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings in seven spring training appearances. ... St. Louis and Arizona met for the first time on Opening Day. The Cardinals are in their 122nd season; the D-backs, their 16th. ... The Cardinals are honoring the late Stan Musial by wearing a patch with his signature and uniform No. 6 on their left uniform sleeve. ... Pete Kozma became the Cardinals' seventh starting shortstop in as many years, following Rafael Furcal, Ryan Theriot, Brendan Ryan, Khalil Greene, Cesar Izturis and David Eckstein.