It was a bitter sweet victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night when they defeated the Chicago Cubs by a score of 8-3 at Chase Field but also saw their playoff hopes officially come to an end.
The St. Louis Cardinals win over the Washington Nationals officially eliminated the Diamondbacks from the wild card race but that didn't stop their efforts in taking care of the struggling Chicago Cubs.
"What else are we supposed to do?" Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told the Associated Press after his club's 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs. "You try to win as many games as you can. That's what you're supposed to do. People are still out here to see you."
Cody Ransom and Justin Upton each hit home runs to help Ian Kennedy earn his 15th win of the season. Kennedy did struggle with his command throughout the game walking six batters in five and one thirds of an inning. Kennedy managed to only give up three runs to the Cubs offense who continues to struggle at the plate with runners on base. Kennedy didn't think the result of the St. Louis Cardinals game affected the way him and his teammates played.
"I didn't pay attention to what they were doing, we knew it was a slim chance," Kennedy said according to Tyler Emerick at MLB.com. "Whether you're fighting for a playoff spot or not, I know finishing strong is really important."
The Diamondbacks got a nice start in the first inning with their two rookies Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollack hitting at the top of the order. Eaton started the bottom of the first with a leadoff double and Pollack drove him in with a double of his own to give the D-backs a 1-0 lead.
Cody Ransom hit his 11th home run of the year to give Ian Kennedy at two run lead in the fourth inning. The Cubs answered the bell in the fifth off of Dave Sappelt's two-run homer to tie the game at two. The long ball has definitely plagued the Arizona ace this year, the home run was a career-high 28th given up by Kennedy this season.
Aaron Hill continued his productivity at the plate with a RBI double in the fifth inning. That was followed by Justin Upton's 16th home run of the season to make the score 5-2. Upton's power numbers have certainly been down this year and was a big piece missing in the Diamondback's lineup.
With his win on Friday night Ian Kennedy became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to record back-to-back 15-win seasons. The D-backs' ace joined Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Brandon Webb.
"To be in that company, it means a lot," Kennedy told MLB.com. "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."
The Cubs had cut the D-backs' lead to two runs in the sixth inning when shortstop Starlin Castro doubled to deep center field that scored Alfonso Soriano who drew a walk to get on base. That was one of three hits for the Cubs' 22-year-old All-Star shortstop who recently signed a long term $60 million deal with the Cubs.
In the seventh inning the Cubs threatened again, with two outs Anthony Rizzo walked then Soriano and Castro both singled to load the bases. Matt Albers who replaced Kennedy in the sixth inning was then relieved by Matt Lindstrom who struck out Louis Valbuena to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks used that momentum to tack on three runs in the eight inning for insurance. Aaron Hill hit his second double of the game to leadoff the inning and then scored on a throwing error when Justin Upton reached on an infield single. Upton then stole second base, his 17th stolen bag of the year. John McDonald and Adam Eaton added RBI singles later in the inning to give the Diamondbacks a comfortable 8-3 lead.
The Diamondbacks continue to hover around the .500 mark and hope to end the season on a positive note. With the win the Diamondbacks move to 79-78 and Trevor Cahill will take the mound Saturday night against the Chicago Cubs in search of Arizona's 80th win of the season.
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