A trade from the D-backs to the Padres gave Ian Kennedy the chance to hit the reset button on a rough season, and the right-hander took advantage by picking up a victory in his first outing with San Diego.
"I liked what I saw," Padres manager Bud Black said after Kennedy tossed a solid 5 2/3 innings against the Yankees last Sunday. "I told him, 'That's going to be one of many wins for the Padres.'"
Kennedy goes for No. 2 on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, where the Padres will play their series finale against the Reds. The teams have split the first two, with the Padres winning on Saturday to snap the Reds' three-game winning streak as well as their own three-game losing streak.
The Reds will hope for a rebound performance from right-hander Mike Leake (10-5, 2.94 ERA), who endured one of the worst outings of his career last Sunday. The Cardinals knocked him around for four runs in the first inning, and he set a season high with seven runs allowed over five innings.
That outburst from St. Louis ended an extended run of dominance from Leake, who had gone 8-2 with a 1.82 ERA over his previous 14 starts. He capped that stretch on July 29 at San Diego, holding the Padres to four hits over seven scoreless innings, although he took a no-decision in a 2-1 Reds loss.
Kennedy (4-8, 5.14) arrived in San Diego carrying a 10-start winless streak, during which he went 0-5 with a 5.82 ERA. In his Padres debut, the 28-year-old walked four batters, but gave up only four hits while striking out six.
He battled plenty of nerves along the way. Not only was Kennedy pitching for a new team and against his original club, but the Southern California native also did so in front of a large group of family and friends. He'll aim to be a little calmer this time around.
"I was a little more excited than I wanted to be," Kennedy said. "If you watch me pitch, you'd see that I don't get too excited and try to stay on an even keel."
Padres: Learning to make do
San Diego has played four games since shortstop Everth Cabrera was suspended for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and Carlos Quentin bowed out of the lineup with a knee injury. The offense has suffered, scoring only nine runs on 24 hits in those contests.
"I think the players know that those two guys are a big part of our team, there's no doubt about it," Black said. "I think we can't have some guys trying to do too much, especially the guys in the middle of our order."
Cabrera's suspension will last for 50 games, while Quentin was placed on the 15-day disabled on Friday, retroactive to July 31. Without them, Black believes his team needs to emphasize situational hitting and compensate with solid defense.
"We're going to have to cinch our belt a little bit here in the next 40-plus games and play good baseball to make up for some of the losses we have from some of our players," Black said.
Reds: Broxton back in the fold
Reliever Jonathan Broxton made his first appearance since June 13 on Friday, when he pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Padres. The big right-hander had been out with a right elbow strain, but was back throwing in the mid- to high-90s.
Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't want to use Broxton in a second consecutive game on Saturday, but Broxton felt good and ready to go.
"I feel fine," Broxton said. "We'll go out there, and I will do whatever I have to, to help this team win."
• Third baseman Todd Frazier was out of Saturday's lineup because Baker didn't like his matchup against Padres starter Tyson Ross, but Frazier is expected back on Sunday.
• San Diego holds a 3-2 lead in the season series, which ends on Sunday.
• Kennedy hasn't faced the Reds this season. In two career starts at Great American Ball Park, he has allowed two runs on 12 hits over 13 1/3 innings.