Kennedy closes out season with strong win
Starter passes 200-innings mark, allows no earned runs vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Wins are wonderful and strikeouts can be stupendous, but for Padres manager Bud Black, there's always been one statistical mark that truly measured the impact of a starting pitcher the best -- innings pitched.
On Friday, pitcher Ian Kennedy reached a notable statistical plateau, allowing one unearned run as the Padres edged the Giants, 4-1, before a sold-out crowd at AT&T Park.
Kennedy surpassed the 200-innings mark, limiting the Giants to four hits in seven innings with two walks and six strikeouts. He finished the season with 201 innings, a 13-13 record and a 3.63 ERA. And, no, he said, the innings total didn't sneak up on him.
"It's one of those goals you set -- 200 innings means a guy stays in the game, that he stays durable," said Kennedy. "Durability is important is me. It means you're staying healthy."
It means everything to Black, a former pitcher himself who pitched during an era where 200 innings wasn't the benchmark it is in today's era, with starting pitchers' workloads being monitored more than ever and with bullpen specialization being more prevalent.
"Two hundred [innings] is a high standard in today's era. For me, the responsibility of a starting pitcher and what he means to a team is huge," Black said.
Kennedy (13-13) became one of nine starting pitchers in 2014 to eclipse 200 strikeouts and 200 innings in the same season.
The victory gave the Padres (77-83) their most victories since 2010, when they won 90 games and were not eliminated from postseason consideration until the final day of the regular season.
On Friday, the Padres scored first, getting a run in the first inning before Ryan Vogelsong settled into a groove.
With one out, Will Venable singled and later moved up when catcher Andrew Susac was charged with a passed ball. With two outs, Venable was able to score when Yasmani Grandal -- who hit two home runs Thursday -- singled up the middle, a ball that second baseman Joe Panik nearly flagged down.
San Francisco starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (8-13) looked good early, allowing an unearned run over the first five innings of the game.
But he ran into trouble in the sixth inning, allowing a one-out double to Jedd Gyorko and then a walk to Grandal. Seth Smith followed with an RBI double off the wall in right for a 2-1 lead. Rene Rivera broke his bat on a soft single to center field that scored two more runs.
Vogelsong allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.
The Giants (86-74) got their run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Crawford.
Then, in the sixth inning, the Giants put two runners on against Kennedy, but he struck out Travis Ishikawa and Susac to end the inning.
Kevin Quackenbush worked a scoreless eighth inning and Joaquin Benoit worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 11th save.
But this one was more about the guy who began the game, not about the ones who finished it.
Kennedy's first full season with the Padres saw him make all but one of his starts. A minor oblique injury kept him from one start and he admitted that he wasn't quite 100 percent for four or so starts after he came back, though he was still plenty good.
"It's a testament to Ian," Black said. "He's held his stuff from April to right now."