Kennedy takes aim at 20th victory in D'Backs-Dodgers clash

Ian Kennedy tries to become only the second 20-game winner game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight at Chavez Ravine.

Kennedy is 19-4 with a 2.90 earned run average in 30 starts this season and has been on fire over his last 12 appearances, going 11-1 with a 2.15 ERA. He has won four straight starts and previously took the hill in Thursday's 4-1 win over San Diego, as he tossed 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and struck out a season-high 11 batters. Kennedy has given up three runs total in his current unbeaten streak.

"It's fun to watch," D'Backs outfielder Justin Upton said of Kennedy. "He's done it night after night. Every time he steps on the mound he's been great for us."

The right-hander defeated the Dodgers on Aug. 7 at Chase Field and is 3-1 with a 4.44 earned run average in four career starts against them. Kennedy hasn't been too kind as the visitor this season, going 10-2 in 14 road assignments, and is trying to become the first Arizona pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Brandon Webb prevailed 22 times in 2008.

Kennedy is 9-0 with a 1.87 ERA against NL West foes this season.

Arizona will be counting on Kennedy to maintain that edge and witnessed a similar effort from Joe Saunders in Monday's series-opening 7-2 win. The lefty limited the Dodgers to a pair of runs and four hits in seven innings for his 11th win of the season (11-12) before the bullpen took care of the rest.

"My game plan was to throw strikes and not walk anyone," Saunders said. "I was able to mix my pitches. I was able to get ahead of guys and make them hit my pitch."

Gerardo Parra had two hits and matched a career high with four RBI to lead the offense, while Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts ended with two hits and an RBI apiece for the National League West-leading Diamondbacks, who are still 8 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco in the division standings and have won 17 of 20 games. The D'Backs also rebounded from Sunday's 7-6 loss versus San Diego.

D'Backs catcher Montero went 0-for-3 to snap an 18-game hitting streak. Arizona's magic number to clinch a division title is now seven and the club is even with Milwaukee for the second-best record in the National League.

Los Angeles has lost two straight since winning four in a row and opened a 10- game homestand in poor fashion last night.

Dodgers starter Ted Lilly was handed a career-worst 14th loss after surrendering three runs on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings for the Dodgers, who entered the game having won 15 of 19 contests.

"Ted pitched good. It was one of those games you question yourself of taking him out," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It didn't work out tonight."

Matt Kemp's home run in the first inning and Jerry Sands' RBI single in the seventh was the all the offense LA would receive. Kemp, an NL MVP candidate, has a career-best 33 homers on the season and has gone deep twice off Kennedy.

Chad Billingsley gets the nod for the Dodgers tonight and is 0-1 with a 4.88 earned run average in his last six starts. He has recorded three straight no- decisions and lasted a season-low 2 1/3 innings in a 7-4 win at Washington on Thursday, as he gave up four runs and five hits.

Billingsley is 10-10 with a 4.30 ERA in 29 starts and will try to beat Arizona for the second straight time. In a 7-4 win over the D'Backs on Aug. 5 in the desert, Billingsley was reached for three runs in six innings. The righty is 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 24 career games (22 starts) against Arizona.

Arizona has won eight of 13 meetings with Los Angeles this season, including five of seven matchups at Dodger Stadium.