Parra has four hits as D-backs bully Cards
PHOENIX -- For one day, at least, it all went according to plan for the new-look Arizona Diamondbacks.
Put together tough at-bats, check. Play good defense, check. Get a good performance from the starting pitcher, check.
Led by Gerardo Parra's 4-for-5, three-double performance, the D-backs racked up 15 hits and followed their new formula to a 6-2 win over the Cardinals in front of a sellout crowd at Chase Field on Monday night -- the club's seventh straight Opening Day victory.
"It was a good game, well played," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "A lot of things we worked on showed up."
The D-backs underwent a transformation during the offseason, as the club traded home runs for hitters more prone to putting the ball in play, hoping to string together long innings to put pressure on the opponent. That philosophy took shape against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the fourth inning.
Trailing, 1-0, the D-backs applied the pressure.
First, there was a seven-pitch at-bat by Miguel Montero that resulted in a two-strike single. Paul Goldschmidt then worked a five-pitch at-bat and hit a two-strike curve to left for another hit.
Jason Kubel also had a five-pitch at-bat and hit a 1-2 pitch for an RBI double. Then A.J. Pollock, a rookie making his first Opening Day appearance, hit a 1-1 pitch for a double to center that scored two more runs and put the D-backs up, 3-1.
"Guys are always making adjustments and watching the opposing pitcher," Goldschmidt said. "Everyone had seen him once, so guys had kind of seen his pitches and we were able to put something together and have good ABs."
Exactly what the D-backs were hoping to get from the reconstructed lineup.
"They put together good at-bats against him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Real good pitches he made once he did get his curveball going, they were just fouling them off and forcing them onto the bigger part of the plate. Those are the kinds of at-bats that run a pitch count up and gave him a tough time."
The D-backs did not stop there, though, they continued to battle Wainwright, getting an insurance run in the fifth before finally getting to the St. Louis bullpen for couple of tack-on runs in the seventh.
That was more than enough support for D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy was touched for a run in the first when Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday had back-to-back doubles, but after that, he seemed to find his groove.
"The pitching performance by Ian was awesome," Gibson said. "I don't how else to explain it. He had everything working. Fastball spotted well, it was pumped up to 94. It was kind of the old Ian we saw a couple years ago."
After the two doubles, Kennedy allowed just one hit over the next five innings. His control was impeccable with 67 of his 94 pitches going for strikes. Kennedy also had his curveball working, something he focused on making sure was ready during Spring Training after not feeling it was effective in his first few starts of 2012.
"I felt like I was commanding my pitches, every single pitch," he said. "Except for the last two curveballs I threw, I was pretty happy with it. That makes a difference when you're throwing all three pitches for strikes."
Kennedy allowed five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
"There's no doubt he pitched well," Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran said. "He didn't throw too many fastballs right down the middle of the plate. He was hitting corners, and the changeup was working good for him and the curveball, too. When he needed to throw it hard, he did that also. He pitched a good game."
Kennedy gave an assist to the crowd of 48,033, which had plenty to cheer about.
"It makes it a little easier to warm up when you have this many people out," Kennedy said. "I wish it were like this every game it would make it a little easier in August when your arm and body don't feel very good. It's a lot of fun when we have a crowd like this."
Of course, it was just one game. There will be 161 more over the next six months.
"If we're going to get 15 hits we're going to be pretty successful," Goldschmidt said. "But it's a long season and so obviously we had some success, but who knows tomorrow what's going to happen? We'll hopefully go out there and play our best and see what happens."