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ARI@LAD: Kennedy fans five over six solid innings

The early-season struggles of the Brewers and D-backs might best be represented by the slow starts of the pitchers they'll send to the mound on Friday in the first game of the 2011 National League Division Series rematch.

A year after winning 21 games and posting a 2.88 ERA, D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy has compiled a 3-4 mark and 4.47 ERA in his first nine starts this season. Furthermore, he's 0-4 with a 5.92 ERA in his past four outings.

"Every time I fail, succeed, anything, I try to learn from it, make myself a little better the next time," Kennedy said after his most recent outing, in which he surrendered six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Kansas City.

Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo seemingly hit rock bottom after a two-inning appearance on April 27, when he allowed eight runs in a 13-1 loss to St. Louis.

"I've been throwing the ball good, then you have a game like this," Gallardo said then. "It's very frustrating. It [stinks]. Obviously, I know it keeps getting old, but there's not much you can do now. [I] have to prepare for the next one and work on the things I need to work on."

He has followed his own advice. Since that forgettable performance, Gallardo has submitted four consecutive quality starts, lowering his ERA, to 4.62 from 6.08.

Friday's matchup has an added twist, as Cody Ransom figures to be in a Brewers uniform for the first time after the D-backs designated him for assignment on Monday and Milwaukee claimed him off waivers on Wednesday.

"He is a very good hitter," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Ransom. "I haven't seen him play shortstop for a while, so I don't know how he is there, but he used to be a very good defender, and we'll see."

Ransom batted .269 with 13 RBIs and four home runs in 17 games with the D-backs this season, but the club decided to go with Josh Bell, leaving the 36-year-old as the odd man out.

"He's a good professional player. He did well for us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We decided to do what we did. We lost him. We didn't want to lose him, but we wish him well. He's been around the game a long time. He appreciates the game. We just wish him not too well against us."

The D-backs will likely have catcher Miguel Montero back after he missed the final two games of the Dodgers series with a left groin strain.

"It feels pretty good right now," Montero said. "I didn't think I had to come out of the game because it felt so much better afterward, but I think it was the right move. [The trainers] worked on it right away and I felt a difference immediately."

D-backs: Young gets a breather
After playing five straight days since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, D-backs outfielder Chris Young was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Dodgers.

"He probably came back a tad too early," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I DH'd him [in Kansas City], then we played him two straight days here. I thought this was the right thing to do with an off-day tomorrow. From not working out and not playing, to playing every day, it's really hard. I wanted to get [Gerardo] Parra in there today for sure."

In his first 20 at-bats since the injury, Young has just three hits. Before going on the DL, Young was batting .410 with five homers and 13 RBIs.

For his part, Young said his shoulder is holding up fine.

"It's all good," Young said on Wednesday. "Gradually keep it coming, have the off-day tomorrow."

Brewers: Estrada leaves game with leg injury
Marco Estrada left his start on Wednesday after one inning with a strained right hip flexor. The right-hander began limping as he rounded first after hitting a two-run double and he grabbed his leg upon reaching second base.

"I almost wish I would have struck out on that," Estrada said after the Brewers' 8-5 victory over the Giants.

Estrada will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. His next scheduled start is on Tuesday, against the Dodgers.

Worth noting
• With two hits on Wednesday, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is batting .400 during May, with three homers and 21 RBIs.

• The D-backs have lost six straight home series for the first time in club history.

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