3/6/2013 12:30 A.M. ET
Kennedy fans three as Mexico edges D-backs
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tuesday night's game with the D-backs went about as well as Team Mexico could have hoped.
First, they breathed a deep sigh of relief as starter Yovani Gallardo checked out healthy, then they came away with a 1-0 win in front of 6,111 at Salt River Fields.
"You know, I thought the guys played really well," Mexico manager Rick Renteria said. "We had some opportunities, obviously. But for playing a 1-0 ballgame, I thought it looked pretty good from the bench. I know we ran into a couple of outs, but those are things we can clean up. It was good to see. We tried to squeeze a little bit. Maybe those are things we're going to have to do as the tourney progresses."
"They threw well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They had some good arms they threw at us."
Team Mexico has a final exhibition game against the Dodgers at 1:05 p.m. MT on Wednesday at Camelback Ranch. They will then begin World Baseball Classic competition in Pool D at 1 p.m. MT on Thursday against Team Italy at Salt River Fields.
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As long as Gallardo gets the go-ahead from the Brewers, he will pitch in Friday's game against Team USA at Chase Field. The right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday with a slight groin strain, and after throwing a bullpen session Sunday Milwaukee wanted to see how he would respond to game action.
Gallardo walked two but struck out the side in the first inning and pronounced himself healthy and excited to be part of the World Baseball Classic.
"The guys in this clubhouse, I had the opportunity to talk to a few of them the past two, three years," Gallardo said. "The first day stepping right in, it felt like being around these guys the whole year just being the first day. That's what you need, that chemistry. All the guys, we get along great and have a good time. At the same time, we take care of business whenever it has to be done."
The game was scoreless through the first four innings before Mexico scratched out a run off Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler in the fifth.
Former Mets outfielder Karim Garcia led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a ground out by Edgar Gonzalez.
Former Pirates catcher Humberto Cota followed with a ground ball just inside the right-field line for a single that scored Gonzalez.
The game was not without bright spots for the D-backs.
Ian Kennedy, who is slated to start Opening Day, was sharp in tossing three shutout innings.
"I felt pretty good," Kennedy said. "I think there was only two hitters where I wasn't happy with my fastball command. My curveballs were down."
Kennedy said it was a little different facing Mexico, as opposed to a more familiar Cactus League opponent.
"I didn't know who was on the roster," Kennedy said. "I just knew Adrian Gonzalez. That was pretty much the only name I knew that would for sure be there, and [Jorge] Cantu. That's one of the things coming into this is you're not sure who you're going to face."
In addition, the D-backs pulled off a double play on a pickoff attempt to get out of a jam in the third inning.
With runners on first and second, Kennedy whirled and threw to second, where Cota was caught straying too far from the bag. Cota was tagged out in a rundown between second and third, and the D-backs also nailed Eduardo Arredondo trying to advance to second on the play.
The D-backs also got a solid outing from closer J.J. Putz, who was making his first appearance of the spring. The right-hander tossed a scoreless fourth inning.
Up next: The D-backs host the Royals at 1:05 p.m. MT on Wednesday, with Trevor Cahill making his second start of the spring. Patrick Corbin, who is battling Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, is slated to follow Cahill to the mound.