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NYM@ARI: Kennedy's double to center plates Ransom

PHOENIX -- Just how good of a roll is Ian Kennedy on?

The D-backs' right-hander does not even need to have his good stuff right now to come away with a victory.

Kennedy tossed seven quality innings and the D-backs made an early lead hold up, as they beat the Mets, 4-3, on Friday night in front of 25,701 at Chase Field.

The win, combined with a loss by the Giants, extended Arizona's lead over San Francisco to two games in the National League West, the D-backs' largest lead of the year.

"We've got to take care of our own business," Kennedy said. "As long as we keep doing that, I feel like we'll be in a good spot when it comes to the end of September."

Kennedy (15-3) has certainly held up his end of the bargain, having won his last seven starts to tie CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander for the longest winning streak in the Majors this year.

"Ian's a lot of fun to play behind," shortstop Cody Ransom said.

The D-backs gave Kennedy some early support, beginning with a solo homer by Justin Upton in the first and continuing with a three-run second inning.

Kennedy helped his own cause in the second when he followed Ransom's two-run double with a run-scoring double of his own, after faking Mets starter Dillon Gee into thinking he was going to bunt.

"I got totally surprised by Ian," Gee said. "I thought he was bunting, so I gave him a pitch. I just wanted to get an out and he hits a double. That was a big blow, right there, so that's frustrating."

Kennedy labored through seven innings, allowing six hits and walking three, while fanning five. By holding the Mets to a 1-for-7 mark with runners in scoring position, though, he was able to allow just one run.

"Today, my command wasn't what it has been," Kennedy said. "I was missing some spots, and that caused me to fall behind guys."

David Hernandez tossed the eighth, and J.J. Putz closed things out in the ninth for his 28th save. The pair each gave up a run, but managed to still get the job done.

"You're just happy to get through it and hand it off to David and J.J.," Kennedy said. "For me, I know I'm really happy going seven, knowing that David's coming in after me or anyone else in our bullpen. It's nice to have them back there."

Kennedy's winning percentage of .833 leads the Majors, and his 15 wins ties him with Roy Halladay for the most in the NL.

"There's guys throwing a little better than I have, but it's nice to be up there, tied with [Halladay] for the wins lead," Kennedy said. "I know in the back of mind, it would never happen without our bullpen. And there are some times where the offense has carried me."

With at least eight starts likely left this year, what does Kennedy think about his chances of reaching 20 wins?

"I watched Mike Mussina throw his whole career, and he never reached it until his last year," Kennedy said of the former Orioles and Yankees right-hander. "So I know it's really tough. It's not even in my sights."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson raised some eyebrows with his lineup, by starting Xavier Nady at first, Sean Burroughs at third and Ransom at short -- instead of his regulars. He explained how he feels it's imperative that everyone get a chance to play.

The trio made him look like a genius in the second, as Nady reached after being hit by a pitch, Burroughs doubled and Ransom doubled. Nady left the game in the top of the third with a fractured left hand.

"I show up every day hoping I'm playing," Ransom said. "If I'm not starting, I hope I can get in late -- and hope I can help us win late. Every day you come to the field, you want to play -- whether it's the beginning or the end of the game. Hopefully, it's the whole thing. You just show up and try to help out."

Said Burroughs, "We just know our roles and come to the field every day being ready to go." Comments