PHOENIX -- The Cardinals may have suffered a couple of hit batters, but it was the D-backs who wound up getting thumped Wednesday night.
St. Louis banged out 17 hits en route to a 15-5 rout of the D-backs in the rubber game of a three-game set at Chase Field.
"They just pounded us early," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
D-backs ace Ian Kennedy clearly did not have his best stuff and the Cardinals jumped on him early and never let up.
After a two-run first inning, the Cardinals sent nine men to the plate and scored six runs in the second inning to go up 8-0. The big blow of the frame was Lance Berkman's two-out, opposite-field grand slam to left after Kennedy hit two batters with pitches earlier in the inning.
"He didn't have his velocity, really his secondary pitches were not good at all, he couldn't get them over," Gibson said. "The ones he did get over were up in the zone and there wasn't much action to them. It was just a tough night for him."
"The hitters were relentless," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Kennedy's a solid pitcher, and we just came out and had some great at-bats. Every inning. Stayed hungry."
Kennedy gave up a run in the third before being removed for a pinch-hitter. The right-hander allowed nine runs on seven hits.
"I was off on pretty much everything," Kennedy said. "Curveball was getting over, nothing else was getting over. I was really just battling against myself pretty bad."
The results surprised Kennedy given how he felt warming up.
"I felt pretty good in the bullpen," Kennedy said. "My arm felt good, my mechanics felt good and as soon as I went out there things went the opposite way. It was by far the worst outing I've had in a long time."
The nine earned runs are the most Kennedy has ever allowed in a start.
Evidence of his command problems were the two Cardinals hitters -- Ryan Theriot and Matt Holliday -- Kennedy plunked in the second. He also missed up and in a couple of times to Albert Pujols in the frame.
"By no means was he trying to hit anybody," Gibson said.
The Arizona bullpen, which entered the game with the worst ERA in the National League, did not fare any better. Aaron Heilman allowed three runs in the fourth on Skip Schumaker's homer and three more in the fifth as the Cardinals built a 15-2 lead.
The D-backs tried to get back in the game as Russell Branyan hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Arizona capitalized on an error by Pujols at first to score three unearned runs in the fifth to pull to within 15-5.
The D-backs would come no closer, however, as the St. Louis bullpen posted zeros in the final four frames.
"We fought at the plate," Gibson said. "We scored five runs. It's tough to be in a game like that, but they kept battling. It's a lot to make up. I've played in several games like this. You can push yourself as much as you want. It's frustrating, it's disappointing. We played a great game [Tuesday] and it's hard to deal with. Overall I thought the effort was great. The results weren't good, but they busted their butt."
The Cardinals scored 31 runs in the series after scoring 27 in their first nine games of the season. Berkman hurt the D-backs throughout the series. He homered in each game and was 6-for-13 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the series. Gibson was asked if he had seen enough of Berkman.
"Yeah, for now," Gibson said. "We'll come back and get him. He swung the bat well, obviously hit everything we threw up there. This team coming in really wasn't swinging the bats that well, but they really heated up here."