Edna St. Vincent Millay 9 p.m., Dec. 24
For six straight games against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, the San Diego Padres had their way with them. That ended Tuesday night in an evenly played game when the Diamondbacks held off the Padres, 3-2.
Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy scattered seven hits along with giving up two walks and went eight innings allowing only one run, which came in the first inning. With one out, Logan Forsythe singled to center field, and Kennedy walked Chase Headley.
Yasmani Grandal hit an infield single to load the bases, and Yonder Alonso hit a sacrifice fly scoring Forsythe. Chris Denorfia then hit into a ground out to end the threat, and the Padres were up 1-0 after a half-inning.
Kennedy then got better as the innings passed and the Diamondbacks gave him some support in the bottom of the first inning, with Padres starter Eric Stults on the mound. Stults opened the frame by walking the lead-off hitter Adam Eaton, and Arizona eventually made Stults pay for it.
After Eaton stole second base, Stults got Aaron Hill and Justin Upton on strikes and had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed. But Paul Goldschmidt singled home Eaton and then Miguel Montrero doubled home Goldschmidt, and the Diamondbacks were up 2-1 on the Padres after an inning.
Both Kennedy and Stults were crafty for the next few innings, allowing base runners but no scoring. That lasted until the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Stults walked Justin Upton, which again would come back to bite him.
After Paul Goldschmidt flied out for the second out, Miguel Montero hit his second double off of Stults, plating Upton. The Diamondbacks led 3-1 after five innings,
There was no more scoring until the top of the ninth inning, when closer J.J. Putz came in for the Diamondbacks to relieve Ian Kennedy. Chris Denorfia opened the frame with a single to center field, and Denorfia made it all of the way to third base when Adam Eaton botched fielding the play for an error.
Will Venable came up and lifted a fly ball to left field, and Denorfia tagged and scored and the Padres were within a run. But that was all, when Putz got Jesus Guzman and pinch hitter Mark Kotsay to both ground out, and the Diamondbacks held on for the 3-2 victory.
While Eric Stults suffered the loss, his first loss since early June to fall to 6-3. He pitched well except for a couple of walks that he wound up paying the price for allowing. Stults went six innings giving up three runs on five hits with three walks while striking out six.
Ian Kennedy was outstanding for the Diamondbacks, scattering seven hits over eight innings, giving up a run along with two walks with six strikeouts. Kennedy improved to 14-11 this season while J.J. Putz recorded his 30th save.
With fourteen games left, getting injured players back in the lineup might be less important now, but players want to play, so there's that. Carlos Quentin has now missed six consecutive starts with a sore knee, but according to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Quentin wants to play before the end of the season. Huston Street (strained calf) likely does as well, and he's eligible to come off of the disabled list and there have been rumblings that he might (it certainly wouldn't cost the Padres a roster move since they are below the 40-man bench limit at the moment). The thing about leg injuries and pitchers is a tricky thing to figure since they rely on their arms, but legs are far more important than some might think; a lot of power is generated pushing off of the rubber and the plant leg takes a lot of punishment on the landing, so stay tuned for that. Cameron Maybin sat out Tuesday with a sore achilles, which is another tricky injury, and Cameron is likely day-to-day at this point, so again, stay tuned.
Wednesday, game two of the three-game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks takes place the same time as Tuesday's game, 6:40 PM PDST. In a battle of pitchers with .500 records, the Padres will send Edinson Volquez (10-10, 4.24) to face Trevor Cahill (11-11, 3.92) of the Diamondbacks. You may listen if you can pick up XX 1090 AM on your radio dial and you can watch it on Fox Sports San Diego unless you have Time Warner, but since Time Warner doesn't even offer the NFL Network, I'm guessing you poor folks that are stuck with that cable provider have figured out alternative methods of dealing with it. At least Cox Cable figured out in a hurry what San Diego sports fans want.