Kennedy, the second pitcher in franchise history to start the team's home and road openers, struck out nine and gave up only one run in eight innings of a 13-2 victory over Cincinnati on Friday, the D-backs' home opener. He gave up three earned runs in six innings in a 7-6, 11-inning victory at Colorado on opening day April 1.
It is the sort of thing Kennedy made commonplace in the last two months of 2010, when his curve ball developed into a strong option to go with a fastball/changeup mix that he had primarily used to that point in his career.
"There were times I threw six off-speed pitches in a row, and I have never done that before," said Kennedy, beginning his second full season in a major league rotation after joining the D-backs in a winter meeting trade in 2009.
"But certain situations call for that. There were some times when I threw (the curve) back-to-back-to-back. I spiked a couple, but for the most part, it felt good."
In his latest victory, Kennedy struck out four Reds on changeups, three on fastballs and two on curve balls. Confident in his third pitch by mid-August, Kennedy finished 2010 strong, going 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in his final nine starts, six quality. He gave up 56 base runners in 55 innings in that stretch, with 51 strikeouts. His win-loss record might have been the most deceiving number of the group.
Kennedy is scheduled to make his next start Wednesday against St. Louis.
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