08/26/10 11:28 PM ET
Kennedy leaves Padres shaking heads
Righty draws key walk, then shuts down San Diego lineup
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
But his work at the plate in the second inning played almost as crucial a role in Arizona's 11-5 win -- the D-backs' first victory at PETCO Park in nine tries this year.
"It's almost the only thing I'd take back," Padres starter Kevin Correia said of his battle in the second inning with Kennedy.
Correia easily retired the first two batters of the inning before Gerardo Parra singled to left. That brought up Kennedy, and Correia jumped ahead of him 0-2.
"He got me 0-2 pretty quick," Kennedy said. "I know as a pitcher, it's frustrating when you walk a pitcher. I tried to make it really hard on him and draw as many pitches as I could."
But Correia did walk Kennedy, which brought Stephen Drew to the plate.
Frustrated from the walk, Correia threw a first-pitch strike and Drew was ready for it, driving it over the wall in the right for a three-run homer and a 4-0 Arizona lead.
"You can't walk the pitcher in that spot," Correia lamented. "It really changed the game."
Said Drew, "It was coming in and I just got the bat head out on it. I was just trying to get a pitch out over that I could hit. I put a pretty good swing on it."
Drew's been putting a lot of good swings together these days, particularly in this three-game series against the Padres. In the past three games, Drew went 7-for-13 with three homers, four doubles and six RBIs. The numbers would be impressive no matter where they happened, but considering he did it at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park made them more remarkable.
"He made it look like a hitter's park this series," Kennedy said.
So Drew was asked, is PETCO Park a hitter's paradise these days?
"No sir," he said. "It's just one of those [three] games. It was pretty neat. This park obviously has played big, it's still going to play big. It's just one of those things that was meant to happen. I saw the ball really good yesterday and I saw the ball good today."
The D-backs broke the game open in the fourth with five runs, three of which came on Chris Young's bases-loaded double. The hit gave Arizona a 9-0 lead and Kennedy cruised from there.
"It lets you pound the strike zone and let them get themselves out," Kennedy said. "When the offense comes through, it makes it easier on you. When you have that lead early on, you just want to get ahead of guys and try not to give them a chance to come back."
The only hit against Kennedy (8-9) came with two outs in the fourth, but he walked a pair of hitters in the first inning while struggling to find his release point.
Kennedy finally exited after seven innings and 105 pitches, having struck out a career-high 12 batters.
In three starts against the Padres this season, Kennedy is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and has struck out 27 while walking five.
"They guy who pitched against us has been tough on us, going back to Spring Training in Tucson," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We saw a lot of 3-2 changeups, even deep in the game."
In his last start, Kennedy labored to get through five innings, and afterward catcher Miguel Montero ripped him for shaking him off so much. The pair talked out their differences over the weekend and the change was noticeable.
"I don't think I shook twice," Kennedy said.
"I think we have to fight a little bit more often," Montero joked. "He was amazing. He made a good pitch when he needed to. He was executing, kept the ball down and had good location. Today was fun. He was quick, we worked together, we talked about [a game plan] before the game and went out and executed it."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.