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Kemp's HR sends Cashner, Padres to victory

PHOENIX -- Matt Kemp's three-run homer in the fifth inning proved to be the difference as the Padres rallied to beat the D-backs, 4-3, on Wednesday night at Chase Field and capture the three-game series.

The D-backs took a 2-1 lead in the fourth thanks to a two-run single by Chris Owings, but Kemp's homer off Robbie Ray (4-12) was the decisive blow. It made a winner of Andrew Cashner (6-15), who allowed three runs over seven innings.

"He's been great for us," Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said of Kemp. "I can only imagine if we had guys getting on base in front of him how many RBIs he'd have."

The D-backs managed to pull to within one on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's sixth-inning homer, but they could get no closer against Cashner and a pair of San Diego relievers. Craig Kimbrel entered in the eighth and picked up a four-out save, his 37th save of the season.

"Ultimately one pitch, really," Saltalamacchia said of the Kemp homer. "He's a good hitter so guys like that you can't make a mistake to."

Video: [email protected]: Kimbrel dominant in the 9th, earns 37th save

Kemp stays hot: Kemp's two-out, three-run homer in the fifth was his 22nd of the season and gives him 97 RBIs. That's the most for a Padres outfielder since Greg Vaughn had 119 in 1998, the last time the Padres won the National League pennant.

"Is that right?" said Kemp, who also recently hit for the first cycle in Padres history. "I'm just trying to drive in runs because that's what they pay me to do. We just got to keep going. The season's not over yet. We've got to keep going and just win some more games."

Not quite Ray's day: Ray retired the first two batters of the fifth inning before walking Wil Myers and allowing a single to Yangervis Solarte. That brought Kemp to the plate and after the count went to 1-1, Ray uncorked a 93 mph fastball. It would be his 102nd and last pitch of the night as Kemp turned it into a three-run homer.

"We were trying to go down and away," Saltalamacchia said of the pitch to Kemp. "He had chased some pitches out of the zone. I knew that was the guy that you didn't want to get beat by. [Ray] had pretty good command of fastball down and away, so I was hoping that he would get it there again, and we'd get another one of those swings and get out of the inning. [It was] just elevated and over the plate to a guy that's got really good power the other way."

Loss to Padres a learning experience for Ray

Video: [email protected]: Hale on starter Ray, one-run loss to Padres

Kimbrel a strikeout wizard at the plate, too: It took 289 games in the Major Leagues, but Kimbrel got his first at-bat in the top of the ninth, striking out looking against Josh Collmenter. Hey, at least he fouled off one pitch. Otherwise, he took two strikes and a ball. Kimbrel also had one at-bat in the Minors five years ago. He struck out.

Oh yeah, the four-out save was his 37th of the season and he whiffed the D-backs side in the ninth.

Kimbrel gets a taste of his own medicine in first AB

Video: [email protected]: Closer Kimbrel stikes out looking in the 9th

Starting Salty: Saltalamacchia's homer was his ninth of the year and eighth since joining the D-backs. He has now homered in four straight starts behind the plate.

"He's swung the bat well for us," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He's obviously come here and re-created himself, and he's doing a good job behind the plate, and he's swinging the bat well."

Video: [email protected]: Salty's solo homer draws D-backs within a run

Padres: The Padres have an off day on Thursday and then travel to Denver to open a three-game weekend set against the Rockies at Coors Field on Friday night. Right-hander Ian Kennedy (8-15, 4.28) is scheduled to start for the Padres against right-hander Chad Bettis (7-5, 4.59) for the Rockies.

D-backs: After taking Thursday off, the D-backs open a three-game series in San Francisco on Friday night with Rubby De La Rosa on the mound. The series with the Giants begins a 10-game road trip that also includes games against the Dodgers and Padres.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Barry M. Bloom and Steve Gilbert are reporters for
Read More: Craig Kimbrel, A.J. Pollock, Cory Spangenberg, Robbie Ray, Andrew Cashner, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Kemp