NEW YORK – The stat is not particularly glowing.
In that regard, Diamondbacks’ right-hander Ian Kennedy tried to gain some equilibrium. After Randall Delgado beat the Mets Wednesday night, that marked the first win by a starter in 24 starts. That dates back to Wade Miley’s victory June 5 over the Cardinals.
Kennedy took the mound on Independence Day and gave the Diamondbacks seven quality innings. Not only did he keep his team in the game, but the 28 year-old had an opportunity to pick up the win.
In the end, Cliff Pennington drove in Gerardo Parra with a two out single in the 15th inning to give the Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory over the Mets before 24,224 Thursday afternoon in Citi Field.
Set-up reliever Brad Ziegler, who was to be given the day off, came in the 15th inning, slammed the door, and recoredd his first save of the season.
“When it got late, the called and asked how I felt,” Ziegler said after the 5 hour, 48 minute affair. “I said, ‘let me throw a few,’ told them I think I can go. It was time to suck it up and this was a great team effort. It showed character and the kind of game we need to win.”
The Diamondbacks blew two leads in the extra frames until Pennington’s third, extra inning game winner.
First, Cody Ross walked with the bases loaded in the 13th to give D-backs a 3-2 lead in but reliever Heath Bell surrendered a two out home run to catcher Anthony Recker to extend the game. In the 14th, Martin Prado knocked in the go-ahead run but reliever Chaz Roe gave up a tying home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the bottom of the frame.
And, they played on until Pennington’s third game-winner in extra innings.
More importantly a victory by a starter is regarded important and a critical step in having starters go deeper into game and remain influential in the outcome. Instead, the D-backs had to settle for an encouraging effort from Kennedy and hope his effort can portend a strong second half of the season.
“(Ian) threw great, and on his game,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “He is well rest and we know why. Overall, it was a great character win from this team and showed everyone hung in and did their job.”
Displaying greater velocity than previous starts, Kennedy had strong command and sharp location. He was particularly effective in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, the Mets had runners on first and second, two out, and Kennedy Recker looking for a third strike. In the next frame, the Mets had runners on second and third, and two outs, and Kennedy did the same to David Murphy.
Diamondback bats certainly did not help Kennedy nor the cause Thursday. They struck out 12 times through the first nine innings and hit into one double play. For the game, they fanned 15 times and left 13 on base.
Still, the D-backs limp home atop of the National League Western Division. After splitting the four game set with the Mets, and losing seven on 10 on the trip, participants believe there is a pulse.
“There will be peaks and valleys for every team,” said Ziegler. “It was a tough road trip but now we’re home for most of July, and we know we can play much better baseball.”
IN THE ROATION
With Trevor Cahill on the disabled list with a hip contusion, his spot in the rotation will be taken, temperately, by left-hander Tyler Skaggs.
Manager Kirk Gibson made that announcement before Thursday’s game with the Mets. Gibson indicated a roster spot to make room for Skaggs would take place prior to Friday night’s game at home against the Rockies.
Skaggs is making his second venture to the major league level this season. In three previous starts with the Dbacks, he recorded a 1-1 mark and a 5.40 ERA. In 11 starts at Triple A Reno, Skaggs was 6-6 with a 4.26 ERA.
If Skaggs is effective, he earn another look, and that could likely come next Thursday night to open a four game set Milwaukee at home.
The black magic chases Willie Bloomquist like a bad dream.
First, the D- backs infielder misses nearly one-third of the season on the disabled list. After sporting a .292 batting average in 22 games, he was plunked on the left handed with a pitched ball in Washington on June 26 and made a direct trip to the disabled list.
Placed on the 15 day DL on July 2, Bloomquist says he hopes to be back before the All-Start break. That’s July 15-18.
“Injuries will always happen, but the timing is never good,” he said before the road finale Thursday against the Mets. “It’s really frustrating. Frankly, it sucks.”
Outfielder Gerardo Parra, with his right forearm bandaged, was in the lineup Thursday afternoon. His sustained bruises Tuesday night when diving for a ball in right field. Manager Kirk Gibson said he gave Parra the day off Wednesday Parra’s .301 batting average returned for the road finale Thursday.
With the split in New York, the Diamondbacks ended a difficult road trip winning three of 10 games.
“It’s always good to get home,” said reliever Brad Ziegler before the finale Thursday at Citi Field. “It’s familiar surroundings and back to a normal routine. On the road, times change, you’re looking for places to eat and at home, we have our schedules and things are easier.”
Leaving up to the All-Star game, they now return to Chase Field for a 10 game stand.
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs opens the home stand against The Rockies’ lefty Jorge De La Rosa (8-4, 3.09 ERA). On Saturday, Wade Miley (4-7, 4.29 ERA) takes on left Drew Pomeranz (0-1, 8.31). For the Sunday get-away date, Patrick Corbin (9-1, 2.49) opposes right-hander journeyman Ray Oswald (0-3, 7.88).
The Dodgers then follow for three and the home stand closes with a four game set against the Brewers.
Looking ahead after the All-Star game, the D-backs open the second half in San Francisco for three and then quickly return home for a seven game home stand against the Cubs and Padres.