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Kennedy, Diamondbacks treat Pirates to loss

Rob Biertempfel
| Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011

PHOENIX — Ian Kennedy was trying to become the fourth 20-game winner in Arizona Diamondbacks history. Jeff Karstens wanted merely to reach double-digit wins in his final start this season for the Pirates.

Karstens tossed six strong innings and even hit a single. But he got no help from his teammates.

Kennedy also tossed a gem and was helped by Justin Upton, whose broken-bat home run lifted the Diamondbacks to a 1-0 victory Monday.

"All you can do is tip your cap to him," Karstens said. "The bat snapped in half, and the ball still went out. No reason to be mad over it."

Leading off the sixth inning, Upton shattered his bat at the handle when he connected on a 3-0 pitch. A replay review by the umpires confirmed there was no fan interference with Alex Presley, who leaped at the wall in a futile attempt to make a catch.

"When I saw the bat go flying, I thought (the ball) would hang up, and I'd catch it like normal," Presley said. "I got back there in time and thought I was going to be able to make a play, but it didn't work out."

The blast made Kennedy the National League's first 20-game winner this season. Kennedy (20-4) joined Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Brandon Webb as the only Arizona pitchers to reach that milestone.

"I'm happy for him," said Karstens (9-9), who befriended Kennedy when they were teammates in the New York Yankees' system. "But I wish it wasn't against us that he got his 20th win. He's had a great season."

Presley tripled with one out in the ninth off closer J.J. Putz. But Neil Walker grounded out to first base, and Andrew McCutchen struck out swinging.

The Pirates, who have scored one run over their past 25 innings, fell into a tie with the Chicago Cubs for fourth place in the NL Central. The Pirates haven't finished higher than fifth since 2003.

The Diamondbacks lowered their magic number for winning the NL West to four.

Karstens worked six innings, allowed five hits and one walk, and struck out three.

"It was a feel-good for everybody who's been pulling for Jeff," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's been a big step-forward year for him. He's knocked down some barriers. He was very, very sharp tonight."

Before the game, Hurdle said Karstens will be shut down due to his high pitch and innings counts.

Karstens threw 162.1 innings this year, his highest total in the majors. In 2006, he threw a combined 190.1 innings in the minors and brief stint with the New York Yankees.

Karstens won five straight decisions in six starts from June 14-July 15, but he since has gone 1-4 with four no-decisions. He skipped two starts recently due to shoulder fatigue.

In the third inning, Karstens lined a two-out single to left — the Pirates' first hit. In the bottom of the inning, he put up the first 1-2-3 inning by a Pirates pitcher since the eighth inning Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Pirates went down in order in six of eight innings against Kennedy, who matched his career high with 12 strikeouts.

"He was throwing every pitch for strikes and mixing it up pretty well," Presley said. "He locates pretty well, so he keeps you off-balance. He had us on the defensive a lot."

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