SAN DIEGO -- The first three Padres batters hit Ian Kennedy hard.After that, not so much. The D-backs right-hander settled in, and his offense scored just enough to give him a 3-1 win on a chilly Thursday night at Petco Park. The D-backs captured the three-game series to improve to 5-1 for the first time since 2000. They head to Colorado to open a three-game set with the Rockies on Friday. "It started off a little shaky in the first and Ian settled in amazingly," outfielder Chris Young said. "It was kind of crazy, they kind of had their chance in the first, and then after that, I don't know if it flipped a switch in him or what, but he zoned it in and shut them down." Cameron Maybin led off the Padres first with a triple to right-center, and Will Venable singled him home for a 1-0 San Diego lead. Chase Headley followed with a sharp single to right, and it seemed like it might be a long night for Kennedy (2-0). "It was impressive to see that," Young said. "You see guys have a shaky start, and it kind of gets to them and they kind of break down and the next thing you know they're out of the game, but that's why he is who he is. He was able to keep his composure, not panic, strike out the side to get out of the inning and keep it going from there." Kennedy allowed just two more hits before departing after six innings having fanned nine. "We hit three balls on the nose but couldn't sustain it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Kennedy got back on the right track. His fastball location was working, and he kept us off balance, which is his game." After the first three guys reached, Kennedy said he just tried to slow the inning down and limit his focus. "You just have to work through it," he said. "Just go one at a time. I can't change anything about it so I'm just going to throw one pitch at a time and try to get this next guy really just the next pitch and then next pitch after that. That's how slow and how you have to think when you have guys on first and second, no outs in the first inning. Just get ahead, then the next pitch and the next pitch. One pitch at a time." By the time Kennedy left, the D-backs had come alive after being held to just one hit by Anthony Bass through four innings. In the fifth, Aaron Hill got Arizona on the board with a single up the middle off Micah Owings (0-2), scoring Lyle Overbay. One inning later, the D-backs capitalized on an error by shortstop Jason Bartlett to go on top, 2-1, when Jason Kubel doubled home Willie Bloomquist. Young gave the D-backs a 3-1 cushion with a two-out homer in the eighth off Andrew Cashner. That left things up to the bullpen, which came through in a big way. Brad Ziegler, Bryan Shaw and J.J. Putz combined to toss three sharp frames to wrap things up, with Putz getting his fourth save on the season. Kennedy has had great success against the teams in the National League West, going 12-0 against them since the start of 2011. In eight starts against the Padres, he's 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA, including a 3-0 record and 1.13 ERA at Petco Park. Because the D-backs face each team in their division 18 times per season, opposing hitters get a number of looks at Kennedy. Rather than that working to the hitter's advantage, Kennedy tries to use it to his. "It's the fun factor for me, facing guys more," Kennedy said. "You wonder if they're thinking along with you. Do I switch it up? Do I go with it again? I love that about pitching, that little game within the game. Sometimes it backfires, sometimes it doesn't."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.