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MIA@SD: Kennedy strikes out 12, hits home run

If Ian Kennedy won 21 games pitching half the time in hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona in 2011, then surely he should be able to conquer Petco Park.

Right?

So far in 2014, it hasn't happened, as Kennedy is winless in six starts at home this season, going 0-5 with a 4.42 ERA.

Kennedy will try to buck that trend Sunday when he gets the start in the fourth and final game of the Padres series against the Cubs at Petco Park.

It's the last home game before the team opens a six-game road trip Monday at Chase Field, Kennedy's former home ballpark.

In his last start, against the Twins on May 20, Kennedy allowed four runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings with two walks and six strikeouts.

The second of two wild pitches Kennedy threw in that start led to the Twins' go-ahead run.

"When you try to throw breaking balls down, at times, when you're a little too aggressive, there's a chance you will bounce them," Padres manager Bud Black said of Kennedy's last wild pitch. "That's the frustrating part. You can have such good spin and break, but if you finish too much, the catcher has to do a hell of a job to stop it."

Kennedy opposes the Cubs' Jason Hammel Sunday, a day after Chicago starter Travis Wood dominated, in the Cubs' 3-2 win Saturday.

Hammel has been fantastic in his first nine starts with Chicago. He sports a 2.93 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings.

But Hammel's two shortest outings of the season were his last two.

On Tuesday, Hammel pitched well -- one run allowed, six strikeouts -- but failed to complete six innings for the second straight start, after finishing six innings in his first seven.

Padres: Back to two catchers
The Padres carried three catchers from Opening Day through Friday's game against the Cubs. But on Saturday, the team sent Nick Hundley and $1.5 million to the Orioles for left-handed reliever Troy Patton.

That means the Padres' catching situation won't be nearly so muddled moving forward, as Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera will split time. On Saturday, it was Grandal who made his 23rd start of the season. Rivera has started 18 games.

The Padres first recalled Rivera late last season when he filled in for an injured Grandal, who has season-ending knee surgery after an August collision at the plate. It didn't take long for them to see how good Rivera was at framing pitches and throwing out baserunners.

The Padres looked into trading Hundley in the winter but couldn't find a good fit.

"By late last year, I think we realized what we had in Rivera," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "Rivera, we felt like was a guy who could really impact us defensively. We knew Nick's role would change if Grandal was healthy and we had Rivera. And it did. So we tried to get ahead of that issue, couldn't find a trade that made sense, but obviously we did it today."

Cubs: One-run revenge
On Saturday, for just the third time in 12 chances, the Cubs won a game decided by a run.

After nearly blowing a 3-0 lead in the eighth, Chicago nudged past the Padres 3-2 to improve their one-run record to a slightly better 3-9.

Despite the win, that figure still puts them in the bottom of the league in that category.

The Cubs nearly gave it away, as a Carlos Quentin's two-run home run in the eighth made it interesting, but reliever Neil Ramirez locked down the final two innings.

Worth Noting
• Will Venable is 1-for-15 (one triple) lifetime against Hammel.

• After blowing his first save of the season against the Yankees Wednesday, Hector Rondon recovered with a 1-2-3 inning Saturday for his sixth save of the season.

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