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If you take the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup and parse out the current roster before Wednesday’s game against Padres starter Ian Kennedy, as a group they were hitting .310 against him with a slugging percentage of .592 lifetime. If statistics mean a damned thing, then it might have been a foregone conclusion that Kennedy would have been hit all over Petco Park.

Didn’t happen. After a very shaky first inning, Kennedy settled in and went a full seven innings and the Padres salvaged the last game of the series against the Pirates, 2-1.

The Padres got the scoring started in the bottom of the third inning when Will Venable doubled, and after a Chris Denorfia ground out moved Venable to third, Yonder Alonso hit a fly ball to left field and Venable easily came home. The Padres 1-0 lead would hold up until the fifth inning, when Alonso struck again.

With two outs, Denorfia singled and then stole second base. Alonso came up and stroked a single to left-center and Denorfia came home and slid just under the tag of Russell Martin and the Padres led 2-0.

Alonso was responsible for both of the Padres runs. “He’s a pitcher that has a very good arm,” Alonso said of Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. “Every day you just have to give it your all. You make sure you’re being smart, today’s just one of those days where we knew the guy has a good arm and we just needed to capitalize on his fastball.”

Luke Gregerson came in for the eighth inning once Kennedy was done, and the Pirates managed to score a run after Felix Pie drew a walk and then took second base on a ground out and third base on a passed ball. Andrew McCutchen plated Pie on a sacrifice fly, and the Pirates got on the board but that was all.

Huston Street then came in to close out the ninth inning brilliantly, striking out two batters and getting the third to pop out harmlessly to shallow center field. For Street, it was his 24th save in 25 opportunities and for the Friars, they avoided the sweep.

For Ian Kennedy, perhaps it was a statement that he’s arrived in San Diego after a couple of disappointing seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks after a promising beginning there. “I think after the first inning he really threw the ball well,” manager Buddy Black said of Kennedy. “He can produce the ground ball when the ball’s down. When the slider, the curve, and the change have action down, you’re going to produce the grounder.”

If you want to hear what Buddy Black had to say about Kennedy’s performance, here’s a nicely chopped up presser that says a lot:


Notes:

With the Padres farm teams winding down, Buddy was asked about the guys in the system playing winter ball, especially the players in rehab who might not get the opportunity to play in the minors again this season, as they end in early September. “Well, that’s a fair question, we’re going through that process now. We know some guys that are already going, Jaff Decker’s going to go to winter ball, he’s going to be with Alonso Powell in Venezuela, Colt Hynes is going to go play winter ball. Logan Forsythe is in the mix of going, we’re going to see how Cameron Maybin is, Cam might go down and play.” And then there’s the usual. “Obviously, there’s some guys that are going to go back to their native countries and play, Guzman, and Amarista, and guys in our minor league system,” Buddy said. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Thursday, the Padres have the day off before the Cubs come to town. This will be interesting, former Padres GM Jedd Hoyer with the Cubs, former Padres first base prospect Anthony Rizzo, and former Cubs prospect Andrew Cashner. Yonder Alonso and Anthony Rizzo are apparently pals in the off-season. Should be a crowded series. Former Cubs play-by-play man Andy Masur will be reunited with some old pals. Should be a love-fest. Get your tickets now, who knows how many Cubs fans will suddenly show up from nowhere?

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