The Padres had their fourth consecutive series-win hanging in the balance before they took on the Yankees in the rubber-match of their three-game set this afternoon. Besides the fact that today’s contest was the rubber-match, the biggest storyline from this afternoon’s game was the fact that it was Ian Kennedy’s first start as a member of the Friars.
The newly-acquired right-hander did not disappoint, and the veteran’s pitching plus his lineup’s effectiveness in the early going helped the Padres win 6-3 over the Yankees.
Before I discuss Kennedy, I would like to give kudos to the Padres hitters and their peskiness this afternoon. Their collective ability to manufacture runs with two outs during the first three innings was what doomed New York’s starter, Phil Hughes.
After Mark Kotsay hit a sacrifice fly earlier in the second, Everth Cabrera came up big when he hit a two-run single with two outs. Credit must also go to Nick Hundley and Kennedy for their efforts to put “Cabby” in that situation, because Hundley’s walk and Kennedy’s sacrifice bunt kept the inning alive long enough for the team to take a 3-0 lead.
In the following inning, the Friars manufactured two more runs after Chris Denorfia hit a sacrifice fly, and Kotsay smacked a run-scoring single with two outs in the frame. San Diego took a 5-0 lead at that point, and Hughes was removed from the game after only 2.2 innings of work. Even after Hughes exited, the Padres continued to manufacture runs with two outs. In the bottom of the fourth, San Diego moved ahead 6-0 after Chase Headley knocked in Cabrera with a run-scoring single.
The six run-cushion proved to be enough for Kennedy to work with in his first start with the Friars as the right-hander kept the Yankees off of the scoreboard early in the game. In fact, New York did not even score a run until Curtis Granderson and Lyle Overbay hit two-out singles in the top of the sixth inning. Although Kennedy exited the game after Overbay’s single, he nevertheless gave his team 5.2 strong innings and he looked like an upgrade over some of the starters the Friars have used over the last month.
Although the Yankees threatened plenty of times after Kennedy exited the game with two outs in the top of the sixth, San Diego’s bullpen held strong over the final 3.1 innings to seal the victory for their team. Outside of an Austin Romine home run in the top of the seventh, Nick Vincent, Dale Thayer, Colt Hynes, and Huston Street kept New York’s lineup at bay to finish the game with a “W.”
The Friars will have an off-day tomorrow before they play a two-game series against another American League East opponent, the Baltimore Orioles. If the Padres wish to keep their series-winning streak alive, they will have to take both games from the Orioles, a team they did happen to sweep in a two-game set in Baltimore earlier in the year.
The task will not be easy, especially because “Cabby” will be suspended, but I am intrigued to see how San Diego responds to the challenge.
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