ST. LOUIS — Long balls and short tosses came back to haunt Ian Kennedy.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' starter allowed home runs to Matt Holliday and Jon Jay, plus hastened his exit by committing errors on consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts in the seventh inning of an 8-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Kennedy dropped to 10-10 with a 4.35 ERA. He has allowed 23 homers, tied for the most in the National League, including eight in his past four outings.
"Well, he's not throwing the ball exactly like he was last year, and he's having a little different luck," manager Kirk Gibson said. "Maybe not quite as much life on his ball, but he's learning how to deal with that."
Kennedy gave up 19 homers last season.
"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."
The throwing errors helped the Cardinals score two unearned runs and begin to pull away. Kennedy retired none of the three batters he faced in the seventh.
"Usually those bounces and crazy plays happen on our side," Kennedy said. "We've just got to grind through it.
"I feel like it's been like that for the whole team."
Rookie Joe Kelly pitched into the seventh inning of what could be his final start before Jaime Garcia comes off the disabled list for St. Louis.
Miguel 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.
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.
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 a short while, 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.
Kennedy then 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.
Kennedy said the ball got stuck in his glove on Furcal's bunt and thought Furcal might have knocked the ball out of Goldschmidt's glove with his hand. On the second play, Kennedy said when he threw the ball third baseman Ryan Wheeler had his back turned.
"I thought it was going to be a lot closer than that," Kennedy said. "It happened so fast."
Kennedy entered the season with three career errors in 100 starts. He's 1-3 with a 8.59 ERA against the Cardinals in four career outings.
Allen Craig added a run-scoring groundout with the bases loaded off Brad Ziegler to make it 5-2 in the seventh. Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter was credited with a two-run double on a low liner that center fielder Gerardo Parra trapped and then tried to sell as a catch as the Diamondbacks began trotting off the field. Second base umpire Gary Darling, closest to the play, reversed third base umpire Paul Emmel's call as the Cardinals kept running.
Kelly survived a pair of fielding miscues by Holliday and Jay in the first and third to keep it scoreless.
Holliday stopped in left and retreated too late on Jason Kubel's double that bounced off the warning track with two outs in the first, but Kelly struck out Goldschmidt. Jay broke in from center on Stephen Drew's one-out triple in the third and with a late dive got just the tip of his glove on the ball, but Kubel grounded into a double play.Comment on this story
Jay made a nice juggling catch at the wall to rob Drew for the last out in the fifth.
NOTES: The Cardinals have won six in a row in the series dating to last season. ... Montero leads all catchers with 70 RBIs. ... Adam Wainwright (10-10) is 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his past four home starts entering Wednesday night's matchup against Joe Saunders (6-8, 3.53). Saunders allowed six earned runs in 3 1-3 innings in a loss to St. Louis on May 7. ... Carlos Beltran was 6 for 17 with two homers and six RBIs against Kennedy before striking out all three at-bats.