A four game win streak has given the Padres the faintest glimmer of hope for the season. They need wins, and lots of them, fast to keep that glimmer from getting snuffed out once and for all. And when you need lots of wins fast, you need lots of breaks. Some good breaks to get in this game would be a rusty Tim Hudson coming off the disabled list and a 2014 vintage Ian Kennedy toeing the slab for the Friars.
Veteran hurler Tim Hudson has seemed to gain better and better control with age. His walk rates have been trending downwards ever since he reached his 30s. That culminated with a career low in his All Star 2014 season. That control was not there for him today and it was visible in the 1st inning. Yangervis Solarte started the inning off with a single and Alexi Amarista would follow with an improbable 4 pitch walk. That seemed to set up a prime opportunity for the resurgent Matt Kemp but he hit a ball hard and right at center fielder Angel Pagan. Kemp would have to get his due later. Hudson's command was letting him down as he fell behind on Jedd Gyorko, but ill-advised cut on a low and away pitched whiffed the second baseman. Yonder Alonso was more patient and a base on balls to him loaded the bases. Hudson was laboring, but unfortunately still was able to retire the slumping Derek Norris to get out of a jam mostly of the Giants' starter's own making. Still, Hudson did indeed seem rusty and that could bode well for the Padres, but it wouldn't be the first time if the 4 time All Star turned a rough 1st inning into a gem.
Padres starter Ian Kennedy has struggled all season to find the groove he had in 2014. His biggest bugaboo this year has been the long ball. However, long balls are only a big problem when there are runners on base when they fly out of the yard. That's what happened back on June 24 when an otherwise good start blew up on Kennedy when he allowed a grand slam to Buster Posey. Tonight, the Padres starter mitigated the damage for when the big fly came. Left fielder Gregor Blanco was the culprit, but he bounced his blast off the top of the right field wall to lead off the 3rd inning and only put the Friars down by a single run. Kennedy cruised through most of the rest of the game. He would only allow one more run and that only came off of consecutive singles in the 5th by Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Buster Posey. 6 innings with only 6 hits, 1 walk and 6 strikeouts should do nicely and brings to mind that 2014 Kennedy-like outing that was hoped for.
Tim Hudson's night would not go so well. Given how much trouble he had in the first, it could have been much worse, but the Padres would do just enough to capitalize. The would have to wait until the 3rd inning in order to cash in with a run. Alexi Amarista drew a second walk, which must be a record for him, and Matt Kemp would get that second opportunity to build on his resurgence. This one would not be missed as he elevated a Tim Hudson mistake out to the beach and gave the Padres a 2-1 lead. The Padres would come back in the 5th as well, when they rallied after the Giants tied the game. Another bases loaded situation earned via a couple more walks would chase Hudson from the game and a Gyorko sac fly gave the Padres a 3-2 lead.
The Padres would extend the lead in the 6th with a Melvin Upton, Jr. triple and a Solarte RBI single (his 3rd base hit of the game). The reliable trio of Brandon Maurer, Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel shut the door. Winning streaks are tough to maintain. The breaks in your favor are extremely important. In this game every little break mattered and lifted the Padres to a 4-2 victory.
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