If this was Joe Kelly's last turn, he's leaving with his head held high.
The rookie right-hander pitched into the seventh inning of what could be his final start before Jaime Garcia comes off the disabled list, and the St. Louis Cardinals got home runs from Matt Holliday and Jon Jay in an 8-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
"I love him in the rotation," second baseman Skip Schumaker said after getting two hits and turning a dazzling double play to his left on a short hop to rob Miguel Montero in the second. "I don't obviously manage but he's making it really difficult on everyone to move him out.
"We think the world of him."
Montero hit a two-run homer for the Diamondbacks, who have lost four of six to drop to .500. They are 0-4 against the Cardinals this season.
Ian Kennedy (10-10) made throwing errors on consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts to help the Cardinals score two unearned runs in the seventh for a three-run cushion, and gave up both homers for a four-game total of eight long balls.
"I feel like the two of them were good pitches, but obviously not good enough," Kennedy said. "It's frustrating when you give up those solo home runs.
"Every once in a while, they add up."
Kelly (3-5) gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings and matched his career best with six strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 3.41 — trailing only Kyle Lohse's 2.72 in the rotation. Garcia had eight strikeouts and three walks, throwing 93 pitches in five innings for Triple-A Memphis in his fourth rehab start Tuesday night.
Manager Mike Matheny swatted away a question about whether Garcia was ready to step in, saying "too early for that right now." Before the game he said he advised Kelly to ignore speculation.
"Everyone else thinks about it a lot more than I do," Kelly said.
"It hasn't really crossed my mind. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'll just keep the same routine, same plan."
Holliday's two-run homer in the fourth reached the third deck in left just inside the foul pole to put St. Louis ahead. His 23rd homer topped last year's total.
Jay hit his fourth of the year to open the sixth for a 3-0 lead.
Kelly had cruised through the middle innings Justin Upton singled to start the seventh. Montero homered to straightaway center on the next pitch, his 14th of the season.
In minutes, Kennedy doubled his season total of two errors through his first 23 starts and helped the Cardinals pull away. He was off-balance fielding Rafael Furcal's sacrifice bunt and double-pumped an underhand throw that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt dropped after being screened to put two men on with none out in the seventh.
Page 2 of 2 - Kennedy then he floated a throw high over third base on what would have been an easy forceout on pinch hitter Shane Robinson's sacrifice attempt to allow a run.
"We just self-disintegrated at the end of the game," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We made two errors on two trivial bunt plays."