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Stars step up for Diamondbacks in win

The Arizona Diamondbacks had lost two games and a starting
shortstop
over the previous two days, resembling a team that seemed
just about
ready to begin a second-half slide.

Their stars wouldn’t let it happen, at least not on this night.

Ian Kennedy pitched seven shutout innings while Justin
Upton, Miguel
Montero and Kelly Johnson homered as the D-backs beat the
Milwaukee
Brewers 4-0 in a game that, quite frankly, they almost had
to win.

“A victory helps you move on from yesterday, it was a
tough loss, we lost
one of our key players,” Manager Kirk Gibson said after
the win. “The guys
bounced back and played well tonight.”

That they did, with Upton continuing to climb out of his
slump and
Montero, a fellow All-Star, being the only Diamondback to
collect multiple
hits in the game. All this was in support of Kennedy, who
struck out five
while allowing just four hits and two walks.

But stars step up when their team needs them, which is
exactly what
happened Thursday night.

“Obviously you’re down when you lose one of the best
players on your team
but we had to turn the page today and we know Stephen’s
watching,” Upton
said, “and we were able to come out and win a ballgame,
and that’s our
goal every day.”

At this point it has to be, and the win brought the
Diamondbacks to within
four games of the NL West-leading Giants. While many had
written the
team off after Drew’s injury, GM Kevin Towers said
Thursday he was not
ready to concede the season. Winning that night’s game
shows that while
the D-backs are down, they’re certainly not out. Or out of
it.

Especially when they have a pitcher on the staff like Ian
Kennedy. An ace by
default to begin the season, the 26-year-old has emerged
as the team’s
stopper.

It’s a role, though, that he doesn’t necessarily embrace — or acknowledge.

“For me I just know I have to go out there and give us a
chance to win, and
tonight the chance was, we were facing Greinke,” Kennedy
said of the
Brewers starter. “I just know for myself I just have to go
out there and just
be me, I can’t try to be anybody else.”

114 pitches, but who’s counting?

It was brought to Gibson’s attention that Kennedy, who
threw 114 pitches
Thursday night, had reached triple digit pitch counts in
every start but one
this season.

No big deal.

“One-twenty is a lot for me, I certainly wouldn’t like to
go there,” Gibson
said, noting that Kennedy will have an extra day of rest
before his next
start. “It’s new territory.

“He threw 194 innings last year…with his mechanics and
the way he takes
care of himself, his arm, we feel comfortable doing that.”

It certainly doesn’t seem to be a problem. Kennedy rarely
faced trouble
Thursday night, finishing his outing by retiring the side
in order.

“I would like to go a complete game without throwing 100,”
Kennedy said,
adding that it would be “Greg Maddux-esque.”

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