PHOENIX – Ian Kennedy is tied with Roy Halladay for the most wins in the National League at 15. Kennedy's Arizona Diamondbacks have taken a two-game lead over reigning world champion San Francisco in the NL West.
It's a nice story seemingly overlooked on a national scene consumed, among other things, by the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and the heralded return of the NFL.
"I think our whole team is flying under the radar," Kennedy said, "and I don't mind it at all."
Kennedy (15-3) allowed a run on six hits in seven innings to win his seventh straight start and the Diamondbacks opened a three-game series with a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.
Justin Upton homered, Cody Ransom doubled in two runs and Kennedy helped himself with an RBI double as Arizona pulled two games ahead of the second-place Giants, who lost 2-1 at Florida.
"It's nice," Upton said, "but a two-game lead in August doesn't mean anything."
Jason Bay went 3 for 4 with a double and RBI single in the Mets' third straight loss and ninth in 12 games. New York stranded nine and was 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Arizona first baseman-outfielder Xavier Nady's left hand was broken when he was hit by a pitch from the Mets' Dillon Gee in the second inning.
"X Nady is probably playing the best he has all year," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, who didn't know how long the player would be sidelined.
The Mets rallied with a run off setup man David Hernandez in the eighth and another off closer J.J. Putz in the ninth but fell just short. Putz got his 28th save in 32 tries.
With their 66th victory, the Diamondbacks topped their win total for all of last season, when they finished last in the NL West for the second year in a row. They have won four straight.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Gee got away from the curve ball after Upton hit one in the seats in the first inning.
"It goes to show what is happening with Dillon and that is if he gets frustrated with something, if he doesn't make a good pitch, he gets away from things," Collins said, "and he has to stick with what made him successful."
Gee (10-4), who gave up four runs on five hits in five innings, fell to 3-4 in his last nine starts.
"I wasn't really upset about the one run," he said. "Really it was the next inning that bothers me. I gave up a couple of hits and all of a sudden they score three runs, before you know it."
Kennedy struck out five, walked three and hit a batter.
"Maybe he didn't have his best stuff tonight," Gibson said, "didn't locate as well as he has in the past, but he found a way through it."
He has not given up more than three runs in any of his last seven starts and hasn't lost since July 3. The 26-year-old right-hander came from the New York Yankees in December of 2009 as part of the three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the Yankees. His seven straight wins tie the Yankees' C.C. Sabathia and Detroit's Justin Verlander for longest streak in the majors this season.
Arizona scored three in the second.
With one out, Nady was hit on an 0-2 pitch but stayed in the game to run the bases before leaving when the inning ended. Sean Burroughs doubled to put runners at second and third, then Cody Ransom doubled down the left field line to score both of them.
That brought up Kennedy, who squared to bunt, but pulled back to swing away, doubling deep into the right-center gap to bring home Ransom and make it 4-0.
The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on a hit batter, single and walk, but Kennedy fanned Ruben Tejada on three pitches, then struck out Gee to end the inning.
New York broke through in the fifth when Angel Pagan singled, took second on David Wright's walk, then scored on Bay's second single of the night.
Bay doubled off David Hernandez to lead off the eighth, took third when Josh Thole lined out to right and scored on Tejada's groundout to make it a two-run game.
After a foul ball hit a support beam on the Chase Field roof, a very rare occurrence, pinch hitter Scott Hairston doubled off Putz to start the ninth, then took third on a ground out. He scored on Willie Harris' sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-3. But Wright grounded out to second to end the game.
NOTES: Only the AL's Verlander (17) and Sabathia (16) have more wins than Kennedy. ... Kennedy's three walks match his season high. ... Arizona's Daniel Hudson, coming off perhaps the worst start of his young career, goes for his 12th victory Saturday night. The Mets will counter with Mike Pelfrey, who has a career 0-4 mark with a 9.68 ERA in four starts at Chase Field. ... Diamondbacks pitchers have 28 RBIs, by far the most in the majors. ... Bay has reached safely in 14 straight games.