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ARI@LAA: Kennedy pitches well in tough loss

For D-backs starter Ian Kennedy, even his best is only good enough a little more than half of the time this season.

In seven of his 14 starts this season, Kennedy (5-7) has gone at least six innings while giving up just two runs or fewer. But the 27-year-old has gone just 3-3 in those games. Two of those three losses came with the Arizona offense scoring one run. In Kennedy's last outing, though, the D-backs didn't even manage that much offense, getting shut out by the Angels, 2-0, on Sunday.

The right-hander will find out Saturday if the offense can give some help, as he will take the mound against the Cubs at Chase Field. After his loss to the Angels -- in which he lasted eight innings -- Kennedy said that despite the lack of support on occasion, he doesn't fault his hitters.

"They're trying as hard as they can," he said. "They're plugging away, they're working as hard as they can. I know that they want to do well, and we're giving it all we have, too."

Opposing Kennedy will be Paul Maholm, who has gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs five times. He is 4-0 in those outings.

The left-hander last threw on Sunday against the Red Sox, giving up three earned in six innings. But the offense kept the Cubs in the game until Boston scored three times in the seventh on the way to a 7-4 win. For Chicago manager Dale Sveum, that game was indicative of his team's struggles this season, which include a 10-27 mark on the road after Friday's loss to Arizona.

"The thing that's going on all year long is we get into close ballgames and something breaks down," Sveum said. "We have to be better at those things -- somebody stepping up and getting a big hit when it counts, not when we're four or five runs down."

D-backs: Drew likely to return Wednesday
Although shortstop Stephen Drew is on track to return to the club on Wednesday for the first time since July 20, 2011, that doesn't mean he'll come back as a full-time player.

"I don't know that I can sit here and say that he'll be available one day, two days, three days in a row," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He may play a day and get really sore the next day, so I can't give you a concrete answer."

Drew played 86 games last season before fracturing his right ankle, batting .252 and driving in 30 runs. Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald combined to take his spot after going down, and the two have been taking grounders at third base to prepare for potentially playing there when Drew returns.

"It's possible," Gibson said. "Obviously, the rotation will be a little different. I don't think we've figured out exactly how that rotation will be. We have a lot of flexibility there."

Cubs: Barney extends errorless streak
Not that it should be a surprise anymore, but Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney went without an error on Friday. That extended his errorless streak to 57 games, the longest streak by a Cubs middle infielder since Mike Fontenot went 90 games without a miscue from May 7, 2008-June 30, 2009.

"He's done an unbelievable job at second base," Sveum said. "He's got good range, especially to his left. He's doing a great job. He's been far and above anything that I saw from the other side of the fence."

In 62 starts at second base this season, Barney has committed just one error. Perhaps the most special aspect about Barney's defense prowess is the position he's done it from.

"When you get to 50 games, that's pretty impressive -- it doesn't happen too often with middle infielders," Sveum said. "When you're playing second base and you have to turn double plays, take relay throws and all that stuff, that's where some of the errors come in."

Worth noting
• The Cubs have scored a combined two runs in the last three games -- all losses.

• Bloomquist reached base safely for 24th time in his last 25 games on Friday. He's also had a hit 22 of those games, including a 2-for-4 performance on Friday. Comments