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D-backs rally to beat Brewers in extras

August 12, 2010

MILWAUKEE — It’s like someone flipped a switch in the fourth inning.

Through the third, right-hander Ian Kennedy appeared headed for disaster. Something changed in his final three frames of work, though, as Kennedy shut down the Brewers and kept the D-backs within striking distance.

As it turns out, the difference may have been the weather.

“Ian struggled a lot,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “It was humid and he couldn’t get a grip, especially on his changeup. In the fourth inning, it cooled down just a little bit and he kind of got back into it and gave us six innings.”

Kennedy’s turnaround proved crucial in the late innings as the D-backs turned the tables on the Brewers for a 7-4 win in 10 innings on Monday night at Miller Park.

With two wild pitches on the night, Kennedy increased his season total to 13, moving him into a tie for first place in the National League. He also hit three batters, giving him nine on the season and putting him third in the NL.

“He was having a really hard time,” Gibson said. “His changeup I think was the worst. He couldn’t throw that at all, so he was down to really the fastball and the curveball.”

Overcoming the conditions and the rough start, Kennedy helped the D-backs win for just the 16th time this season in 53 games away from Chase Field.

“That’s one of the things about when we come on the road. When we play at home, we always have the roof closed; it’s the same,” Gibson said. “Somebody asked me the other day about our road woes and this is one of the things you have to deal with. It’s humid here.”

Kennedy also surrendered four runs on five hits and three walks. Kennedy did all of this through the first three innings of the D-backs’ series opener with the Brewers.

In the fourth, fifth and sixth, Kennedy was unhittable, as he did not allow a baserunner while retiring the final 10 batters he faced. Though he admitted the humidity was an issue, Kennedy credited an adjustment he made for his mid-start turnaround.

“For me, all I noticed was I kind of gave about 80 percent instead of trying to 100 or 95 percent every time,” Kennedy said. “It was really just trying to adjust to what I had today.”

After Kennedy got them through six, Gibson admitted he was hoping his team “wouldn’t self-destruct at that point.” It didn’t. In fact, it got better as the game progressed.

Arizona’s bullpen followed suit in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, allowing just one baserunner on a walk, while striking out five of nine hitters.

All told, D-backs pitchers held the Brewers without a hit over 20 straight at-bats before Prince Fielder’s one-out single in the 10th.

In the ninth, it was Brewers closer John Axford who was wild. Axford walked the first two D-backs to bat in the inning, before a sacrifice bunt and an RBI groundout to short tied it at 4.

All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman got in on the act in the 10th, surrendering a bases-loaded single to Stephen Drew, which was set up by a pair of walks, for the loss. Pinch-hitter Ryan Church followed with an RBI single to right for the game’s final run.

“I was watching their at-bats, and [Axford] threw some breaking balls — Trevor, also — that they laid off,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “To me, they were pretty good pitches and they laid off of them. So you have to give their hitters some credit, too.”

Hoffman (2-5) took the loss while Sam Demel (1-0) picked up his first Major League win. With the way the game had started for Kennedy and the D-backs, they were happy to deny the win for Narveson and the Brewers.

Winning for the fourth time in their past five games, the D-backs bounced back well from a not-so-impressive 10-1 loss to the Padres on Sunday. In the four wins, Arizona has averaged 5.75 runs per game while giving up 3.5 runs per game.

“We battled and battled,” Drew said. “Ian, I went up to him and he just didn’t have it, and with the sweat and everything else, trying to find a grip. He finally settled in and we got some timely hits and the walk situations were good for us too.

“Overall, everybody just did what they needed to do to get the win.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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