Rockies-Padres Preview

The San Diego Padres are on a bit of a roll behind some stellar work on the mound.

Ian Kennedy looks to extend that trend Thursday and help the Padres take three of four from the visiting Colorado Rockies.

San Diego (7-8) has won five of seven since beginning the season 2-6, lowering its team ERA to 2.89 during its hot stretch. Andrew Cashner gave up one earned run in 7 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 4-2 victory.

The Padres have allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of their last eight.

Chris Denorfia drove in two runs and Tommy Medica added a solo shot for the Padres, who were without Chase Headley because of a strained right biceps. Alexi Amarista started at third in place of Headley, who is hitting just .160 in 13 games.

Headley suffered the injury in the batting cage prior to Tuesday’s contest, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return.

"It bothered him as the day went on and bothered him after the game and then again (Wednesday) morning," manager Bud Black told the team’s official website. "Hopefully he responds well to treatment and gets back out there."

Kennedy (1-2, 4.24 ERA) will try to help the Padres stay on track with or without Headley. He gave up four runs and eight hits through six innings of a 6-2 loss to Detroit on Saturday, though catcher Yasmani Grandal felt Kennedy pitched well.

The right-hander gave up each run in the first four innings before settling down.

"He threw a great game," Grandal said. "He was attacking the strike zone, and he was using his changeup way better."

Kennedy has been solid against Colorado, going 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA over his last eight starts. Carlos Gonzalez has had trouble in his career against Kennedy, going 4 for 29 (.138) with 13 strikeouts.

Gonzalez went 1 for 4 on Wednesday and is 2 for 20 over his last five after hitting .375 during a 10-game hitting streak to start the season.

Justin Morneau went 3 for 3 with a homer and a sacrifice fly for the Rockies (7-9), who have dropped four of six.

"You don’t get a lot of opportunities against a guy like (Cashner)," manager Walt Weiss said. "You hope somebody gets a big hit or you get one to drop when you do get some baserunners."

Colorado will turn to Franklin Morales to help salvage a split in the series.

After giving up nine runs in 12 innings over his first two starts, Morales (0-1, 6.39) came out of the bullpen and pitched a scoreless inning in Colorado’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to San Francisco on Sunday.

Morales had a strong spring, but due to his bullpen experience became the odd man out when Tyler Chatwood returned to the rotation.

The left-hander made his only career start against the Padres in 2007, and he’s compiled a 6.28 ERA in 14 relief appearances against them since.

Colorado had dropped five of the last six meetings, all in San Diego.