Kennedy frustrates Cardinals in 6-2 loss

By Bob Baum/The Associated Press

PHOENIX — The St. Louis Cardinals have had a lot of success against Ian Kennedy. Not on this night, though.

The Cardinals struggled at the plate against the Arizona right-hander Monday, dropping a 6-2 opening night decision to the Diamondbacks.

Going into the game, Kennedy was 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA against St. Louis. This time, he gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one.

“The guys had trouble picking him up today,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He controlled the counts. They all did the little things right, right from the start, the first pitch.”

The Diamondbacks outhit St. Louis 15-5, including seven doubles.

Adam Wainwright, with a rich new contract he signed last week, took a line drive off his glove in the third inning, deflecting it off his shoulder.

Second baseman Daniel Descalso thought the ball hit Wainwright’s shoulder first.

“But that speaks to his toughness,” Descalso said. “Not everybody can take a line drive off him and keep going like he did.”

Wainwright nursed a 1-0 lead into the fourth, when Arizona scored three times.

“The fourth inning was weird because I was driving the ball real well early on, but the fourth inning I just didn’t drive it anymore and they made good swings,” Wainwright said. “A couple of good swings on their part and a couple of well-placed fly balls with that huge outfield, there is nothing you can do about it. That is why you have to keep the ball on the ground.”

The Diamondbacks’ remodeled offense played the way it’s designed to play — no home runs but lots of base hits.

“The team was in synch tonight,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “Everybody picked everybody up.”

Kennedy, Gibson said, “had everything working, the fastball pumped up to 94 (mph). That’s kind of the old Ian we saw a couple of years ago.”

Arizona’s Gerardo Parra, batting leadoff, matched his career best with four hits, three of them doubles. Rookie A.J. Pollock was 3 for 4, including a two-run double, and Martin Prado doubled twice with an RBI and two runs scored for the Diamondbacks.

“I’m happy because it’s a good team,” Parra said. “Maybe we don’t have a lot of power, but we have a lot of fast guys, a lot of contact guys.”

Matt Holliday had an RBI double and Descalso a run-scoring single for St. Louis.

The Diamondbacks’ seven doubles were more than they had in any game in the last two seasons.

Kennedy, 15-12 last year after going 21-4 in 2011, dominated after giving up consecutive one-out doubles to Matt Carpenter and Holliday to put St. Louis up 1-0 in the first.

David Hernandez threw a perfect eighth and Brad Ziegler did the same in the ninth for the Diamondbacks.

After one-out singles by Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth, Jason Kubel lofted an RBI double to right-center to tie it at 1. Pollock, starting because of injuries to Adam Eaton and Cody Ross, lined a double off the glove of center fielder Jon Jay to bring in two and Arizona led 3-1.

The Diamondbacks added an unearned run on Descalso’s throwing error in the fifth. Prado, acquired from Atlanta in the Justin Upton trade, doubled to deep right-center, then Aaron Hill hit a slow grounder to second. Descalso threw in the dirt trying to throw to first and the ball bounced off the glove of first baseman Allen Craig as Prado raced home to make it 4-1.

Arizona got two more in the seventh. With Fernando Salas on the mound, Parra and Prado doubled, then Hill singled. Marc Rzepczynski relieved Salas and gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Montero.

Matheny said Wainwright “was pretty good” despite the results.

“He had a lot of life on his fastball, and he established that early,” Matheny said. “They put some tough at-bats against him. Real good pitches he made once he got his curveball going, and they were just fouling them off.”

Notes: Kennedy was the winning pitcher when Arizona beat San Francisco in its season opener a year ago. … Former Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb, whose career was cut short by arm trouble, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Wainwright made his second career opening day start. … The Cardinals send left-hander Jaime Garcia to the mound Tuesday night while the Diamondbacks go with right-hander Trevor Cahill. … The only other Arizona rookie with three hits on opening day was Travis Lee, who did it in the Diamondbacks’ first game in 1998. … Attendance was a sellout of 48,033.