Padres News: Upton, Solarte Lead Offense; Kennedy Cruises in 14-3 Win

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After a rough start to the season, the San Diego Padres‘ starting pitcher Ian Kennedy was taking his time.

Pitching quite a bit more deliberately than he usually does, Kennedy pitched his best game of the young season, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out six, while the Padres’ offense broke out in a 14-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies. The Padres broke a three-game losing streak, their longest streak of the season.

Kennedy suffered a hamstring injury in his first start of the season, requiring a trip to the 15-day DL, and got shelled his second time out, giving up eight runs. This time, he wasn’t taking any chances.

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Despite his slower pace, Kennedy started off fast, striking out Corey Dickerson and Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning and Carlos Gonzalez and Drew Stubbs in the second. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit the first time through the Rockies’ order, not allowing a safety until DJ LeMahieu‘s one-out double in the third inning.

The Padres offense, meanwhile, was doing what it does with more frequency than any other team in the National League. It was scoring runs. After staking Kennedy to a 1-0 lead in the first on a leadoff walk by Wil Myers, a single by Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton hustling to avoid a double-play, they stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Upton was a factor in this rally, too, getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, then aggressively going from first-to-third on a throwing error before scoring the first run of the inning.

Truth be told, the four-run fourth can be attributed as much to three Rockies errors and a hit-by-pitch as to clutch hits by Derek Norris and Yangervis Solarte. Solarte drove in the final two runs of the inning with a base hit.

Stubbs put the Rockies on the board in the fifth, collecting his first hit of the 2015 season, a 388-foot home run to left field, breaking an 0-for-21 schneid.

Kennedy wasn’t perfect. also allowing a home run to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado in the sixth. But his mistakes came with nobody on base. He allowed only six baserunners in his six innings of work.

Upton scored again in the fifth, smacking a one-out single, moving to third on a Norris blooper just over the head of Tulowitzki, then scoring on another little tweener, this time to right field, by Yonder Alonso.

Upton finished the night with three hits, three runs, two RBI, and two stolen bases.

The offense wasn’t even close to finished, though, piling on eight more runs in the eighth. Highlights included a bunt single by Cory Spangenberg,  a second two-run single by Solarte, and a two-run double by Norris. The four RBI tied Solarte for the team lead with Matt Kemp and Upton, each with 16. The Padres continued to pound the Rockies bullpen, sending nine hitters to the plate before the Rockies managed to record an out, which came on a drive to the warning track in dead center field by Will Middlebrooks, a sac fly that scored Norris.

Norris finished with three hits and three RBI.

Kevin Quackenbush, Dale Thayer, and Nick Vincent each pitched an inning to protect Kennedy’s fine outing. Vincent, recalled earlier in the day from El Paso, allowed a run on a two-out walk and a funny-bounce double by former Padre Nick Hundley.

The victory evens the Padres’ record at 12-12, and ties them for second place in the NL West with the Rockies. The teams will break the tie in tomorrow night’s game. Game time 5:40.

Game notes:

Leadoff hitter Myers drew two walks in the game, doubling his total for the year.

Kennedy’s six Ks helped extend the Padres majors-leading mark for most strikeouts by the starting pitching staff. Padres starters have struck out 151 batters in 22 games.

Prior to the game, Vincent was recalled from AAA El Paso, while the Padres sent Cory Mazzoni down in a corresponding move. Vincent put up a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings for the Chihuahuas, striking out 16 while walking one.

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