After playing a significant role in Arizona's NL West championship run a year ago, Ian Kennedy will try to help the Diamondbacks achieve a more modest goal this season.
The right-hander will try to deliver a winning season for his team while earning a fifth consecutive victory Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies .
Kennedy's 21-4 record in 2011 left him in a tie for the NL wins lead. He also posted a 2.88 ERA and struck out a career-high 198 while helping Arizona finish 94-68.
Kennedy (15-11, 4.16 ERA) couldn't replicate that performance this year, but he has won nine times over his past 14 starts. Those victories have helped give the Diamondbacks (81-80) a chance at back-to-back winning campaigns for the first time since 2007-08.
"Winning never gets old," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Kennedy is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA over his last six starts, beating the Chicago Cubs 8-3 on Friday despite issuing a season-high six walks. He became the fourth pitcher in franchise history with 15 or more wins in back-to-back seasons, joining Curt Schilling , Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb .
"To be in that company, it means a lot," Kennedy told the team's official website. "Those are three great pitchers. It's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath and to be in that history of the Diamondbacks. Fifteen wins anywhere is an accomplishment."
Aaron Hill delivered Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Rockies by hitting a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning. John McDonald had a two-run shot during the club's sixth victory in nine home contests.
The Diamondbacks will try to finish strong Wednesday while sending Jeff Francis (5-7, 5.75) to another defeat. The left-hander was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in six September starts, giving up five runs over four innings in Friday's 8-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers .
"I feel like I'm better than the way I performed, so I'm somewhat disappointed," Francis told the Rockies' official website.
Francis had a solid outing going against Arizona on Sept. 23 before reaching the Rockies' 75-pitch limit for starters. He allowed two runs and five hits over four innings in that game.
He also gave up two runs and five hits in earning a 4-2 victory in Phoenix on July 25, but he was extended to 97 pitches and made it through six innings.
That win snapped a string of six consecutive losing decisions against the Diamondbacks.
Kennedy, meanwhile, is seeking a fourth consecutive win over the Rockies and a third in as many home matchups. He has a 1.29 ERA in two meetings at Chase Field this year, but he gave up four runs and nine hits over six innings at Colorado on Sept. 23.
He avoided the loss in that game when his teammates scored seven runs in the final two innings of a 10-7 victory.
This time, Kennedy will face a team that's already set a franchise record for defeats. The Rockies (63-98), though, avoided their first 100-loss campaign thanks in part to a 7-5, 13-inning victory in Monday's series opener.
|September 10, 2012||Ramon Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring strain|
|August 22, 2012||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Left game - right ankle injury|
|August 20, 2012||Eric Young||15-Day DL||Left intercostal strain|
|August 19, 2012||Michael Cuddyer||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|August 19, 2012||Josh Rutledge||Day-to-Day||Left game - left quad tightness|
|August 14, 2012||Drew Pomeranz||Day-to-Day||Chest soreness|
|September 28, 2012||Paul Goldschmidt||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|September 11, 2012||J.J. Putz||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 30, 2012||Chris Johnson||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|August 21, 2012||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Tight hamstring|
|August 17, 2012||Jason Kubel||Day-to-Day||Neck stiffness|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
PHOENIX (AP) -- An awful season ended well for the Colorado Rockies and embattled right-hander Jeff Francis .
Francis earned his first victory in more than a month and the Rockies used two unearned runs to beat Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 on Wednesday night to conclude disappointing seasons for both teams.
Francis (6-7) allowed a run on five hits in five innings in his first victory since July 27.
"We are all competitors here, whether the game means nothing or means everything," he said. "We come here to win and that is our job."
Francis had gone 0-3 in six outings since his last win.
"I feel like I still have that capability of being a really good pitcher for this team," he said. "I carry that confidence in every start regardless how the previous one goes. Today was a good one to finish the season on a good note."
Third baseman Chris Johnson 's throwing error in the fourth led to both of Colorado's runs. D.J. LeMahieu singled in a run for the Rockies.
A.J. Pollock hit his second big-league home run for Arizona.
Kennedy (15-12) gave up no earned runs, striking out eight and walking none. He was 4-0 in his previous six starts.
Matt Belisle got the final out in the ninth for his third save in 10 tries.
Colorado manager Jim Tracy called it "a tremendous way to end the season" because of how much help the team got from its young players.
The Rockies took two of three to win a series at Chase Field for the first time since Sept. 20, 2009.
Despite the win, Colorado finished with a franchise-worst 98 losses in an injury-plagued season. Arizona, the defending NL West champion, finished 81-81, a fitting conclusion since the Diamondbacks were never more than four games above or five games below .500 all season.
"It stinks just as much as the last time we were at .500," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Unlike a year ago, the Diamondbacks never could put together a big winning streak.
"We ran up to .500 a couple of times, went across the line a couple of times, just never ran away from that line," Arizona's Justin Upton said. "We teetered around there all season and that's where we ended up. It's tough when you can never get that run going."
Pollock's second home run of the season, leading off the third, barely cleared the wall over the outstretched glove of Charlie Blackmon to put Arizona up 1-0.
The Rockies took the lead with two unearned runs in the fifth. Blackmon was hit by a 1-2 pitch from Kennedy then Jordan Pacheco singled. Wilin Rosario hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Chris Johnson , who fielded the ball but threw wildly past second, allowing Blackmon to score and Pacheco to take third. Kennedy fanned the next two batters before D.J. LeMahieu brought in Pacheco with a single to put Colorado up 2-1.
In the eighth, Colorado's Aaron Brown contended he was hit in the wrist by a pitch from reliever David Hernandez . Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger insisted the pitch hit the bat. Tracy came out and argued for several minutes before finally retreating to the dugout. Brown struck out swinging, slammed his bat to the ground and was tossed from the game by Ripperger. It was the first time Brown had been thrown out of a major league game.
Jonathan Herrera and Pacheco each singled three times for Colorado. Upton had three for the Diamondbacks to lift his average to .280 after a very slow start to the season.
Gerardo Parra was hit by a pitch from Rex Brothers leading off the Arizona ninth. He was sacrificed to second by John McDonald 's bunt and took third when pinch hitter Chris Young grounded out. Pollock walked to bring up Aaron Hill , whose three-run homer with two outs in the ninth gave Arizona a 5-3 victory on Tuesday night.
Belisle relieved Brothers and got Hill to line out to left to end the game.
Notes: The Arizona chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America presented its Diamondbacks season awards: MVP to Aaron Hill , outstanding pitcher and rookie Wade Miley and "good guy" award to Chris Young . ... Francis' 17 victories in 2007 rank as second-most in franchise history behind Ubaldo Jimenez 's 19 in 2010. ... Kennedy has won 36 games over the past two seasons. ... Colorado used seven pitchers in the finale.