Cashner finds own way to get lead to Benoit, Kimbrel

Notes on Kemp, Myers, Spangenberg

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres found the answer Wednesday night to bridging the gap between the starters and closer Craig Kimbrel.

Cut out the middleman.

Right-handed starter Andrew Cashner completed seven innings in Arizona before turning a 4-3 lead over to late-game relievers Joaquin Benoit and Kimbrel.

The result was a win, although Kimbrel needed to work only his second, four-out save of the season - which also resulted in his first Major League plate appearance.

Cashner completed seven innings for the first time since July 24 and only the eighth time this season in 29 starts.

Wednesday marked only the fourth time in the last 14 games that a starter has completed seven innings. But that is a higher percentage than the full season. Padres starters have completed seven innings in only 21 percent of their starts in 2015.

Which means the Padres have been overly dependent on the middle relievers to get them to Benoit and Kimbrel. And we know how that has worked recently.

With the middle relievers having given up a lead in Tuesday night's loss in Arizona, Cashner delivered the needed "relief" Wednesday, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings.

That set it up for Benoit and Kimbrel, who struck out the side in the ninth after getting the final out in the eighth. Which also set it up for a unique situation.

Kimbrel entered the game in the eighth with the pitching spot in the Padres batting order scheduled to hit third in the ninth. Kimbrel, using a borrowed bat and batting helmet, struck out in his first Major League plate appearance.

Since the advent of the "save rule," Kimbrel became the seventh closer to have 200 saves before his first Major League plate appearance.

FROM THE SCORECARD:

-- Matt Kemp's decisive three-run home run Wednesday night raised his RBI total to 97, leaving him three shy of the 19th 100-RBI season in Padres history. Chase Headley was the most recent to reach 100 RBIs with 115 in 2012. The last outfielder with 100 RBIs was Greg Vaughn with 119 in 1998 (the season after Tony Gwynn had 119). The Padres single-season RBI record is 130 by Ken Caminiti in 1996. Phil Nevin and Adrian Gonzalez each had three, 100-RBI seasons as Padres. Fred McGriff is the only other Padre to have multiple 100-RBI seasons.

-- Remember all the questions in April and May regarding Kemp's loss of power. As of June 5, Kemp had but one homer. He has hit 21 with 71 RBIs in 91 games since. Kemp's pace since June 6 is a 37-homer, 126-RBI run projected over a 162-game season.

-- Wil Myers drew three walks Wednesday night, marking just the sixth time this season that a Padre has drawn three of more walks in a game. Infielder Cory Spangenberg (May 8 against Arizona) and Justin Upton (May 6 vs. the Giants) each had a four-walk game and Upton also had a three-walk game on June 6. Abraham Almonte (May 12) and Yonder Alonso (July 10) also had three-walk games.

-- Spangenberg drove in the Padres first run Wednesday with a single. The infielder has hits in seven of his last eight games, going 8-for-25 with two doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored.