Venable hits two RBI doubles; Jackson adds three RBIs
Kennedy improves command in best outing of spring, strikes out seven
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Center fielder Will Venable ripped a pair of doubles with two RBIs and right-hander Ian Kennedy had his best start of the spring as the Padres topped the Mariners, 7-2, in a Friday night game at sold-out Peoria Stadium.
New Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano kept up his torrid Cactus League pace with an RBI double in the first inning in a 1-for-2 game that actually lowered his spring average to .563 (18-for-32). He now has three doubles and nine RBIs in 12 games since signing his 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract.
Cano only played three innings on a night most of the Mariners starters departed early, with split-squad day games on the schedule for Saturday.
The Padres stuck with their first-teamers longer, and Venable, Yonder Alonso, Ryan Jackson and Kyle Blanks each had a pair of hits, while Jackson totaled three RBIs.
Kennedy went 5 2/3 innings in his longest start of the spring, holding the Mariners to three hits and two runs with two walks and seven strikeouts in a 95-pitch night.
"I thought his fastball command was good, especially on the inside part of the plate to the left-handed hitters," Padres manager Bud Black said of Kennedy.
Cano doubled home Brad Miller in the bottom of the first off Kennedy after Miller laced a one-out single. Miller, competing with Nick Franklin for Seattle's starting shortstop job, went 2-for-3 with an RBI double of his own in the fifth and is hitting .463 (19-for-41) with 10 extra-base hits.
Mariners lefty James Paxton gave up four hits and three runs in a four-inning start, with two walks and four strikeouts. Paxton threw 70 pitches in his second-to-last start of the spring and his Cactus League ERA rose to 3.18. His final start will come in a Minor League game Thursday to keep him on schedule, since the Mariners are off that day.
"It wasn't my best outing," Paxton said. "I struggled with my command a little bit. I was working on some off-speed stuff and getting behind in the count and left a few balls up. But my arm felt good and I felt like I made some good pitches. I'm ready for my next time out."
Padres third baseman Chase Headley, playing his second straight game since returning from a strained right calf muscle, went 1-for-4 with a line single off backup shortstop Chris Taylor's glove in the sixth and is now 1-for-6 for the spring.
Jackson ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the second and Venable followed with a run-scoring double as San Diego jumped to a 3-1 lead against Paxton, who had allowed just three runs in 13 innings in his first four starts.
The televised game had instant replay in effect and the Padres challenged a pickoff throw over to first in the top of the fourth when Kennedy tried to catch pinch runner Leury Bonilla off the bag. But the ruling was upheld, with the umpires taking only about a minute to make their decision.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon also lost a challenge in the bottom of the eighth when an equally quick review was upheld after Blanks stretched to pull in a high toss to first from third baseman Alberto Gonzalez on a ground ball by Minor League outfielder Austin Wilson.
"We didn't have anything to lose," McClendon said. "It was 7-2 with two outs and that was the third out. We thought he probably stayed on the bag, but what the heck."
Up Next: The Padres remain in Peoria, Ariz., on Saturday as they face a White Sox split-squad team at 1:05 p.m. on Gameday Audio. Tyson Ross will get the start, his fifth start of the spring. He had a 6.39 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with six walks and 12 strikeouts. He had six strikeouts and no walks the last time out against the Rockies, though he allowed six runs on 12 hits on a windy afternoon in Peoria. He'll likely throw upwards of 90 or so pitches Saturday.