Kennedy settles in after rocky first inning

Kennedy settles in after rocky first inning

MILWAUKEE -- It's been a whirlwind week for Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, who avoided getting dealt before the Trade Deadline and then spent three days at home in California with his family after the birth of daughter, Evelyn Nicole.

So it's completely natural to see why he might not have been as sharp in the first inning of Wednesday's 8-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.

Not that Kennedy is blaming a busy week and lack of sleep for his early struggles, as he allowed four runs on five hits in the first inning.

"I felt pretty good at the start [physically]. Flying back and forth ... but it was only one more flight than these guys had to go through," Kennedy said. "It was a few tweaks I wish I could have made in the first inning."

For as much as Kennedy struggled in the first inning, his fortunes changed in a big way starting with the second inning -- and until he left after the seventh inning.

Kennedy allowed two hits and struck out seven over six scoreless innings to keep the game close, as the Padres trailed 4-2 when he departed.

"He bore down, he went pitch-to-pitch," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy. "It happens in a lot of sports, but sometimes you don't bring your best when the bell rings, but then you settle down.

"He was better focused. Innings two through seven, he was as good as I've seen him."

The 122 pitches he threw were the most for a Padres pitcher this season. It also tied his career-high. (He also threw 122 pitches in a May 30, 2012 game while with the D-backs.)

If you arrived or tuned in late, it was almost like the first inning never happened. In fact, with his pitch count over 100, he went back out for the seventh inning -- and promptly struck out the side.

"The first inning, my fastball was leaking over the plate, and I was leaving my curveball up, and they got a couple of base hits on it," Kennedy said. "I came in and had to regroup. My fastball was a little bit better, my curveball was down. I got ahead of guys.

"I was falling behind guys in that first inning. It was one of those times where you have to step up. Luckily, I got through seven and it was still within grabs."

Kennedy, who flew from California to Milwaukee on Tuesday and was reinstated from paternity leave, got himself in trouble quickly on Wednesday.

He allowed a leadoff single to Scooter Gennett and then a long home run to the No. 2 hitter, Jonathan Lucroy. One out later, Adam Lind started a stretch of three consecutive hits, capped by a two-run triple by Shane Peterson.

The first-inning runs have troubled the Padres through the first nine games of this road trip, as they have now allowed 13 of them. In his last start Friday in Miami, Kennedy allowed two runs in the first frame.

But after that, he mostly coasted and gave the Padres a chance to stay close before the Brewers scored four runs in the eighth inning.

"He turned it on, and he made a statement that 'though I didn't pitch well for the complete game, two through seven I gave us a chance to stay close.'" Murphy said. "That was his job once the first inning. Hats off to him, he did a great job."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.