Padres play long ball for Kennedy in Chicago
Righty overcomes fitful fourth to fan nine; Maybin, Alonso go deep
CHICAGO -- It was during a fitful fourth inning Friday when Ian Kennedy found himself in dire need of a few absolute essentials -- his command, his pitching coach and, last but certainly not least, his catcher.
"I felt like I lost command of everything," Kennedy said of the inning.
That wasn't completely true, as a small mechanical fix by pitching coach Darren Balsley and some tough love from catcher Rene Rivera got Kennedy through a tough patch, as he recovered to lead the Padres to a 4-1 victory over the White Sox before a crowd of 25,342 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Good early and good late, Kennedy (4-6) found himself in a real conundrum in the middle of the game, as the White Sox (28-28) scored their lone run, tying the game.
"It was the effectively wild approach," Kennedy said, smiling.
Conor Gillaspie reached on an infield single to start the inning and, one out later, moved to second base when Kennedy walked Adam Dunn. Alexei Ramirez lifted a fly ball to center field that Cameron Maybin camped under and caught before putting his head down and starting to run toward the infield.
But there were only two outs, and Gillaspie, alertly, tagged up and went to third base. Kennedy then let a fastball get away from him, a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score.
"You hate to see that," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Cam doesn't make those mistakes. I like that he came up and apologized to Ian after the inning."
Balsley visited the mound to settle Kennedy and suggest a small mechanical fix. Then Rivera spoke, and his words resonated deeply with Kennedy.
"He was frustrated, but I told him to just keep throwing it [fastball] and that he was going to be good … and he was," Rivera said.
Kennedy would finish the inning and then set the White Sox down in order in the fifth and sixth before turning the ball and lead over to the bullpen.
"I thought his fastball was the key tonight from the get-go," Black said. "It had late life through the hitting area. He threw a good game and set the tone."
Kennedy allowed the one run on four hits in six innings, walking three to go with nine strikeouts. He did not have much to work with offensively, as he left with the team holding a 2-1 lead.
"He mixes his stuff up, he hits his spots," said White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, who was a teammate of Kennedy's in 2012 and half of '13 in Arizona. "He studies the heck out of people and he knows how to approach the game and he competes. "[It was] getting us off balance and keeping us off balance."
The Padres got a home run from Maybin, his first since June 9 of last season, in the third inning and then Rivera scored the go-ahead run from third base on a John Danks wild pitch in the fifth. The final two runs of the game came on one swing.
Danks (3-5) allowed two runs on eight hits in seven innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
Yonder Alonso, who had three hits and has raised his average from .157 to .218 since May 9, hit a two-run home run down the right-field line in the eighth to provide the Padres (25-30) some semblance of a cushion for the bullpen to hold.
"We needed those, big time," Alonso said. "We needed to give our bullpen a little breathing room."
Black likes what he's seen lately from Alonso, who has eight multihit games in the last three weeks.
"He's slowly getting there, along with a few other guys," Black said.
Nick Vincent, Joaquin Benoit and closer Huston Street worked the final three innings to close out the victory, with Street needing all of 10 pitches to dispense with the White Sox in the ninth inning for his 16th save in as many opportunities, and the 250th of his career.