Kemp, Norris go deep to back solid Kennedy
Solo shots enough to drive Padres to victory in finale vs. A's
OAKLAND -- It's not like the Padres were hitting the cover off the ball in Thursday's 3-1 win over the A's, but they didn't have to with the way starter Ian Kennedy was dealing.
A couple of solo shots from Matt Kemp and Derek Norris were enough for victory, while the Upton brothers teamed up for another insurance run in the eighth. Kemp has struggled to find a rhythm in his first year with the Padres, but Thursday's blast marked his second homer in three days -- the first time he's done that all season.
Kemp broke up a scoreless tie in the fourth when he took A's starter Kendall Graveman deep to the left field bleachers with two outs.
"Just trying to figure it out," Kemp said. "Hit the ball hard, and if it goes, it goes. Just trying to drive in runs and do what I can to help this team win baseball games."
In just his third game as San Diego's interim manager, Pat Murphy gave Norris his first career start at first base. Before the contest, Murphy stressed that he wanted to keep his starting catcher's bat in the lineup even if it led to some suspect defense. The strategy worked out well, as Norris doubled up San Diego's lead in the sixth with a leadoff homer that just snuck inside the foul pole.
"We gotta have D-No in there," Murphy said. "He's one of our guys. He's one of our main guys. He's a great competitor, he wants the situation, he wants the big situation. That's unusual. This guy isn't a 10-year vet. But for him to want it the way he does and act the way he does, he's one of our guys."
Asked how he thought Norris looked over at first base, Murphy joked, "short."
But the 6-foot Norris made a nice running catch in foul territory early in the game and showed some nice stretching ability on other throws to the bag. Considering usual first baseman Yonder Alonso spent seven innings at third base with no miscues, it was a successful experiment for Murphy. Norris went 1-for-4 with the homer while Alonso finished 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
"How about Yonder at third?," Murphy said. "That's a tough position. We gambled a little bit to keep the bats in the lineup."