Murphy sees lasting benefits from back-to-back, walk-off wins

Notes on Kennedy, Luekbe, Norris

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

Back-to-back, 5-4, walk-off wins over the reigning World Series champions the past two nights might be the classic case of "too little, too late" for the 2015 Padres.

But interim manager Pat Murphy believes the way the Padres played Wednesday and Thursday nights at Petco Park might bode well for the future.

"For us to turn it around the past two days shows there is a lot to look forward to," Murphy said Thursday night after pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista singled home pinch-runner Travis Jankowski in the bottom of the ninth.

The Padres rallied against the Giants bullpen in both games.

Murphy was particularly pleased by the approach of Amarista, who has seen very limited playing time recently with Jedd Gyorko getting the bulk of the action at shortstop. Amarista had only four at-bats in the Padres previous nine games and had 16 at-bats in all of September. His most recent start came on Sept. 13.

"But I was ready if they needed me," said Amarista, who produced the third walk-off hit of his career. Overall, Amarista is a .213 hitter this season. But he is hitting .352 (12-for-34) against the Giants with seven RBIs.


-- The back-to-back walk-off wins gave the Padres a final record of 8-11 against the Giants this season. But the Padres had a 6-4 edge at Petco Park and won two of the three series played in San Diego.

-- Right-handed starter Ian Kennedy allowed four runs on 11 hits and two walks in five innings Thursday. The Giants were 11-for-23 against Kennedy, who avoided more damage by having one runner thrown out at home and having two doubleplays turned behind him. Kennedy also gave up his 30th home run Thursday and has allowed at least one homer in 16 of his last 19 starts. Over his last four starts, Kennedy (8-15) has allowed 18 runs on 31 hits and seven walks in 20 2/3 innings as his earned run average has ballooned from 3.88 to 4.38.

-- Catcher Derek Norris was 3-for-4 Thursday night to raise his batting average to .249 - the highest it has been since June 23. He had two doubles and his 14th homer, which produced the Padres first three runs. Over 45 games since July 30, Norris is hitting .300 (45-for-150) with 12 doubles, three homers, 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored. His homer was his first since Aug. 14.

-- Left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke, who hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2012 is throwing from the mound again in Arizona while rehabbing from two Tommy John surgeries and is expected to face live hitters from the Padres Arizona Instructional League team by early next week.