Kennedy gets 20th win


PHOENIX -- Just below a sign that said "We Believe," a speaker blared Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " across Arizona's clubhouse.

A setup? Possibly.

Either way, there's not much doubt in these Diamondbacks.

Ian Kennedy pitched eight dominant innings to become the National League's first 20-game winner, Justin Upton hit a broken-bat homer, and Arizona moved a step closer to its first NL West title in four years with a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

"This is the most important part, which is winning games, taking away that magic number and clinching here pretty soon," said Kennedy, who joined Detroit's Justin Verlander as the majors' only 20-game winners.

Their lead quickly dwindling over surging San Francisco, the Diamondbacks needed a boost to start a nine-game, season-ending homestand. They certainly got it from Kennedy.

The right-hander had the Pirates guessing all night, giving up one hit -- to the pitcher, no less -- while matching his career high with 12 strikeouts to become the fourth Diamondbacks pitcher to reach 20 wins.

Upton provided an improbable shot, leading off the sixth inning with his 31st homer off Jeff Karstens (9-9), a drive to left that snapped off his bat and was upheld by a video review.

J.J. Putz closed out the two-hitter with his 42nd save by stranding Alex Presley at third to drop Arizona's magic number to four over the idle Giants.

Kennedy seemed to get stronger as the game wore on, striking out the final six batters he faced to join Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (both 2001 and 2002) and Brandon Webb (2008) as the only 20-game winners in Diamondbacks history.

 

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