A night of special deliveries for Kennedy
Padres starter throws seven strong innings following child's birth
MIAMI -- Ian Kennedy certainly had a lot on his plate -- and on his mind -- before Friday's 8-3 win, and very little of it actually had to do with the non-waiver Trade Deadline and how it pertained to him.
Kennedy, set to start the series opener against the Marlins, got a call at 7:15 a.m. PT from his wife, Allison, who was going into labor with their fourth child. Kennedy's plan was to return to Southern California in time to attend the birth, but that's when things got complicated.
Kennedy's flight from Miami was delayed due to inclement weather. He was actually sitting on the plane, on the tarmac, when the captain offered passengers the chance to disembark.
"I was texting back and forth with [Allison]. She said, 'You might as well get this game in and then come home,'" Kennedy said.
So Kennedy called pitching coach Darren Balsley. The team had already announced a replacement starter -- Odrisamer Despaigne -- but Kennedy asked if he could keep on schedule.
"It made more sense to stay and pitch," he said.
But before he did, through the magic of FaceTime, Kennedy got to see daughter Evelyn Nicole born at 2:03 p.m. PT. Kennedy watched for 20 minutes, and saw the cutting of the umbilical cord -- which had been his job, he said -- before realizing he needed to do something.
"I was like, 'I've got to get ready for my start,'" he said.
Kennedy walked the game's first batter, Dee Gordon, and two batters later gave up a long home run to center field to Christian Yelich.
He didn't allow much thereafter.
"Giving up the homer helped shake it up a little bit," he said. "[I thought], 'Hey, I'm out here on a big league mound, you've got to step it up. What are you going to tell your daughter after you're all done?' It was just fun to pitch. Now I get to go home. I just want to hold her."
Kennedy allowed just the two runs over seven innings and was in line to get the victory before the Marlins got to closer Craig Kimbrel for a game-tying home run in the ninth inning.
"I think that victory was for someone else," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "I know he didn't get the win, but that was seven exceptional innings."
Kennedy is scheduled to fly to California early Saturday. He'll meet the team in Milwaukee before his next start, on Wednesday.
Some of this scenario was familiar to Kennedy, as his oldest daughter, Nora, was born the day before he pitched a shutout against the Phillies on April 25, 2011, while with the D-backs. He did that, he said, on three hours' sleep.
"That was probably the best I've ever pitched," he said.
As for Friday, that rated pretty highly, too. Kennedy was rumored to be someone the Padres were considering dealing before the 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline, then the call from his wife changed the course -- and focus -- of his day.
"It was just an emotional moment," said Kennedy, who broke into tears after exiting the game. "I'm so proud of her and Ali."