DENVER (AP) With San Diego’s pitching staff on a roll, Ian Kennedy wasn’t about to break the momentum.
Kennedy pitched seven sharp innings, Rene Rivera hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth and the Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Monday night in a game that included a 56-minute weather delay.
Chase Headley added four hits for San Diego, including a two-run triple in the seventh inning to break open a close game.
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The outing by Kennedy extended a strong run by Padres starters, who have allowed only six runs over the last seven games to help San Diego win five of seven in that stretch.
”You talk about hitters getting momentum, pitching staffs can get momentum, too,” Padres manager Bud Black said. ”Guys are aware of what’s going on and they’re watching other guys pitch and they can gain confidence from that and I think that’s what’s happening.”
Kennedy seemed to gain strength the deeper he got into the game, striking out five of the last six batters he faced before wind, rain and lightning forced the delay heading into the eighth inning. Kevin Quackenbush stepped in for Kennedy when play resumed.
”The last eight, nine games, we’ve thrown really well and you don’t want to be that guy to throw bad,” Kennedy said. ”It’s a lot of fun when the other guys on your staff are throwing the ball well. You can feed off that.”
Kennedy (7-9) finished with nine strikeouts, boosting his team-leading total this season to 125. He allowed four hits in seven innings, including Drew Stubbs’ leadoff home run in the fourth.
The Padres improved to 28-4 this season when scoring four or more runs, the second-best mark in baseball behind Washington, which is 39-3 when scoring at least four times.
Slumping Colorado lost for the 18th time in the last 21 games. They’ve gone 1-4 midway through a 10-game homestand.
”We can’t afford to lose series,” said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose club lost three of four to the Los Angeles Dodgers to open the homestand. ”We’re getting some (injured) guys back but bottom line is we have to start winning some series.”
The Rockies haven’t won a series since completing a sweep at San Francisco on June 15.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the sixth, Tommy Medica hit a one-out double and Rivera followed with a double to left. One out later, Cameron Maybin sent a drive to the warning track in left center that seemed to get caught in swirling winds and dropped just beyond the reach of Corey Dickerson’s glove as the Padres took a 3-1 lead.
San Diego added three runs in the seventh. Kennedy drew a leadoff walk and Chris Denorfia singled to chase Tyler Matzek (1-3). Headley, who changed his batting grip slightly a little over a week ago, greeted Matt Belisle with a triple off the right-field wall, scoring Kennedy and Denorfia. Carlos Quentin’s sacrifice fly put the Padres in front by five runs.
”I feel like it lets me be a little shorter to the ball, gives me a little more leverage,” Headley said of his revised grip.
It does seem to have helped. He had his second four-hit game in July after not having any in the first 62 games of the season.
Matzek was charged with five runs and eight hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out four.
”My first few (innings), my stuff felt good,” Matzek said. ”I was just trying to attack the zone. I started falling behind guys. I was picking corners and trying to be fine. First-pitch strike’s the most important thing. You get hitters in hitter’s counts and they’re going to hit the ball.”
NOTES: RHP Tyson Ross, the Padres’ lone All-Star representative, is scheduled to start Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and won’t pitch in next Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, though he’ll be in attendance for the festivities, according to manager Bud Black. Ross is slated to start Tuesday’s Game 2 against LHP Franklin Morales and the Rockies. … Kennedy’s team-leading 19th start also tied him for the most starts in the majors this season. … Kennedy has worked six or more innings in 15 of his starts this year. … The Rockies have lost seven of their last 11 meetings with San Diego dating to last September. … Stubbs is batting .333 (6 for 18) with two home runs midway through the Rockies’ 10-game homestand. … Rockies batters struck out 13 times in all.