The Arizona Diamondbacks began the final 67-game portion of their schedule Friday night much the same way they went into the All-Star break five days earlier.
A rough first inning by right-hander Ian Kennedy, a lack of run support from the offense and ultimately a loss.
The scripts could have been identical, well almost.
Kennedy, who allowed five runs on nine hits in Sunday’s 5-1 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers, was roughed up yet again in the first frame (two runs, three hits and a walk), but settled down nicely over his final five innings for a quality start.
Still, it didn’t seem to matter much at AT&T Park.
San Francisco Giants right-hander Chad Gaudin continued his mastery against the D-backs — gave up two runs in a 6-2 win at Chase Field June 9 — throwing seven innings of shutout baseball to go along with eight strikeouts, as the defending World Champions won with ease 2-0.
In defeat, the D-backs failed to get a single runner into scoring position until an eighth inning bunt by Adam Eaton moved A.J. Pollock to second.
Although Kennedy lost his third straight decision, the 28-year-old retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced, and gave the D-backs every opportunity to win the ball game.
Friday marked just his second quality start since June 16.
With the loss and a Dodgers’ win in Washington D.C., the D-backs hold just a 1.5-game lead in the National League West.
The D-backs have scored one run or less in four of their last five losses.
-The D-backs have lost six straight second-half openers following the All-Star break.
-Ian Kennedy suffered his first loss in San Francisco since Sept. 29, 2010.
-All-Star Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 at the plate, including an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded in the eighth.
-Will Harris came on to deliver a scoreless inning of relief in the seventh. He has allowed just one run over his last 16 relief appearances.
The D-backs and Giants continue their three-game series Saturday night at AT&T Park. Kirk Gibson and Co. will send left-hander Wade Miley (6-7, 4.01 ERA) to the mound. He’ll be opposed by San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain (5-6, 5.06 ERA). Cain is 0-1 with a 3.79 ERA against the D-backs in 2013. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. on Arizona Sports 620.