Parra lifts D-backs with inside-the-parker
Kennedy fans six over seven scoreless innings
PHOENIX -- When the ball left Gerardo Parra's bat in the eighth inning, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch was focused on whether Braves center fielder Nate McLouth was going to be able to catch it.
He did not see right fielder Jason Heyward until the last second. Neither, as it turns out, did McLouth.
The two outfielders collided as the ball bounced off McLouth's glove and rolled away, allowing Parra to come around with a two-run, inside-the-park home run that wound up giving the D-backs a 2-1 win over the Braves on Wednesday night at Chase Field.
The win was the fourth in the last six games for the D-backs.
"You go from wanting the ball to land to a really nasty collision to a play at the plate, that's about as unique as it gets," Hinch said. "I hate to see a player run into a Mack Truck known as Jason Heyward. We'll take it as a win, we'll take the wins and get to tomorrow and just hope that McLouth is OK. I'm hoping he's OK. It's a weird way to take the lead in a roller coaster range of emotions."
McLouth, who was removed from the game, had a headache, but the initial diagnosis was that he did not suffer a concussion on the play.
Parra said it was the first time in his life he had an inside-the-park homer.
"I have never run like that," he said. "I wasn't thinking inside-the-park, I was thinking maybe double or maybe base hit."
Mark Reynolds, who was hit by a Peter Moylan pitch to start the inning, came around to score on the play.
"That's like running into a linebacker out there," Reynolds said of Heyward. "He's a big guy. However you can get some runs across the dish."
Runs were at a premium with Kenshin Kawakami and Ian Kennedy locked in a pitcher's duel.
Kennedy allowed three hits and fanned six in seven shutout innings. The Braves made him work, though, running up his pitch count early while drawing five walks. Atlanta left the bases loaded in the second inning and stranded two in the fourth.
"We had all kinds of [opportunities] early," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "[Kennedy] was off his mark a little bit early, but he's tough. He's a pitcher. He's nowhere near a thrower. He knows how to pitch."
One of the reasons for the higher than usual walk total, Kennedy said, was because with the game a scoreless battle, he knew he could not afford to give in with every mistake possibly yielding a run.
"I'm just glad they didn't come back to bite me because they usually can, but it's how things worked out," Kennedy said.
Kennedy used his changeup to get some key outs in the game.
"If I throw it like my fastball and you just miss the barrel by a little bit it's an effective pitch and that's all I try to do with it," Kennedy said.
As for working out of the early jams, Kennedy credited catcher Chris Snyder.
"Snyder always gets me through those tough spots," he said. "I really take pride in going seven innings. That's my goal, to go six, seven or eight innings and keep the game within reach. I didn't want to give in."
The lone Atlanta run came in the eighth off reliever Aaron Heilman when Heyward led off with a double and one out later came around to score when Brian McCann also doubled.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.