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Kennedy stars as Diamondbacks blank Brewers

Jul 22, 2011 - 5:11 AM Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - The Diamondbacks hit three home runs Thursday night, backing a strong start from Ian Kennedy and shutting out the Brewers 4-0 to split a four-game series.

Kennedy (11-3) allowed just four hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking two, and improved to 5-1 in his last eight starts.

The 26-year-old righty threw 114 pitches, 69 for strikes, and has topped 100 pitches in every game but one this season.

"He takes care of himself well. He has good mechanics," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We hope that he's one of those guys that can do that."

Bryan Shaw, Joe Paterson and David Hernandez combined on Arizona's eighth shutout of the season.

Justin Upton and Miguel Montero belted solo homers in the fourth inning and Kelly Johnson provided some cushion with a two-run blast in the eighth.

Arizona improved to 4-3 on its 10-game homestand to open the second half and will finish the residency with a weekend series against the Rockies starting Friday.

Brewers starter Zack Greinke (7-4) remained winless in his last five starts despite a good outing that included seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. He gave up five hits, including the homers to Upton and Montero.

"He felt good. He wanted to go back out for another inning," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who was complimentary of the opposing pitcher as well.

"He's got a little deception on his delivery, kind of throws a little across his body," Roenicke said of Kennedy. "He spots his fastball outstanding, not afraid to pitch inside, mixes in a nice slider, a few curve balls at times, a little cutter. So he gets creative out there with what he sees, but really he pitches off his fastball and spots it well."

Milwaukee will continue its 11-game road trip since the All-Star break with a weekend series at the San Francisco Giants. They are 4-4 on the trek so far and fell into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

The teams were playing one day after both suffered serious injuries in Milwaukee's 5-2 win in 10 innings.

The Diamondbacks lost shortstop Stephen Drew for the rest of the season after he broke his right ankle on a slide at home plate in the fourth inning. One play later, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez fractured his left clavicle while making an inning-ending diving catch in shallow left-center.

"The victory helps you move on from yesterday. It was a tough loss, we lost one of our key players," Gibson said. "The guys bounced back pretty well tonight."

It was a pitching duel, and only Arizona was able to fire shots that hit their mark.

Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun hustled to catch Johnson's long drive at the warning track in left-center, making the grab in front of the wall.

But Upton homered in the next at-bat, crushing Greinke's 3-0 fastball high over the wall in center field. Montero poked a low pitch the opposite way for a two-out homer to left field that made it 2-0.

The Brewers had the bases loaded in the fifth inning after one-out singles by Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy, a sacrifice bunt by Greinke and a walk to Corey Hart. But Nyjer Morgan flied out to end the threat.

"I felt like I was throwing pretty good," Kennedy said. "I feel like in the fifth inning [I] came under the ball too much. I also wasn't going to give Hart anything to hit because we saw what he can do this series."

Braun doubled to lead off the sixth, but was stranded there. The Brewers threatened yet again in the eighth after Shaw replaced Kennedy on the mound. Hart singled and Morgan was hit by a pitch, but Braun grounded into a double play and Paterson came on to strike out slugger Prince Fielder.

Johnson's two-out homer off LaTroy Hawkins scored Gerardo Parra, who led off the eighth with a single.

Game Notes

Upton hit his 16th homer of the season, Montero his 11th and Johnson his 17th...Fielder is hitless in his last 14 at-bats...Greinke hasn't won since June 21. He is 0-2 in four career starts against Arizona...The Brewers left eight runners on base...Kennedy is 4-1 against the NL Central in 2011. He has allowed one run or fewer 10 times this season...Drew had surgery earlier Thursday.