St. Louis, MO – If this was Joe Kelly's last start for the foreseeable future, he left a lasting impression.
With Jaime Garcia's return to the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation imminent, Kelly spun 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball and his team took an 8-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game set.
Kelly (3-5), who has filled in admirably since Garcia went down with a left shoulder sprain in early June, scattered two runs, six hits and walked two while fanning six. Since the injury, the 23-year-old rookie responded and fired quality starts over his first seven outings. He has accumulated a 3.41 ERA over 12 starts this season.
"He had good stuff," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He had a really good tempo working, nice change-up, fastball got better as he went."
Garcia made his fourth and possibly last rehab start Tuesday with Triple-A Memphis.
Matt Holliday smacked a two-run homer and Jon Jay cracked a solo shot for the Cardinals, who extended their winning streak over the Diamondbacks to six games. They've outscored them 41-19 during the stretch.
Ian Kennedy (10-10) surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on six hits and three walks over six frames for Arizona, which has dropped four of its last six contests.
The Cardinals struck first with a pair of runs in the fourth and added another in the sixth.
Allen Craig singled to begin the fourth and Holliday launched a two-run shot into Big Mac Land in left field. Jay cracked a leadoff homer into the bullpen in right-center field in the sixth to give the Cardinals a 3-0 advantage.
Arizona made it a 3-2 game after pushing across two runs in the seventh when Justin Upton singled and Miguel Montero slugged a two-run blast to straightaway center field, but St. Louis got both runs back in the home half. Skip Schumaker scored on an error by Kennedy and Craig plated Rafael Furcal to make the score 5-2.
Matt Carpenter tallied a two-run double and Jay added an RBI single in a three-run eighth to cap the scoring.
"We just self-disintegrated at the end of the game," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
Garcia is 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA over 11 starts this season ... Holliday has 81 RBI on the year, which is second in the NL behind teammate Carlos Beltran ... St. Louis was 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, while Arizona finished 0-for-3.