CHICAGO (AP) — Ian Kennedy has had enough problems getting run support from his offense. This time, he had to deal with a mental lapse by his defense.
Kennedy struck out nine in six strong innings and Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer to lead the San Diego Padres past the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Friday night.
Cameron Maybin hit his first home run of the season in the third inning, but also had a mental lapse in the fourth.
With one out and Conor Gillaspie on second, Alexei Ramirez hit a routine fly to Maybin in center field. Maybin thought it was the third out of the inning. He put his head down and started jogging in. Gillaspie noticed that Maybin was unaware of how many outs there were and tagged up to third without a throw.
One pitch later, Gillaspie scored on Kennedy’s wild pitch to tie it at 1.
“You hate to see that,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Cam, when he came in, the first guy that he went to was to Ian and apologized. Cam doesn’t make those mistakes.”
It wasn’t the first time Kennedy had to overcome a position player forgetting how many outs there were.
“I’ve done it before on the mound so at that point, for me, I’ve just got to get over it. My job was to keep that runner there. Yeah, but he came up to me and apologized to me,” Kennedy said. “It was after he hit the home run and I said, ‘Make it up to me, hit another home run, I will forget about it.‘”
Kennedy (4-6) allowed one run and four hits with three walks.
The right-hander has struggled to get help from San Diego’s offense. Before the game, he ranked 98th out of 101 qualified pitchers with 2.79 runs of support per nine innings. He struck out the side in the fifth and Gillaspie leading off the sixth.
Alonso finished with three hits as the Padres ended Chicago’s three-game winning streak.
Padres closer Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 16 opportunities. Nick Vincent and Joaquin Benoit backed up Kennedy with a scoreless inning apiece.
“In this day and age the bullpen is so important,” Black said. “Our guys have been pretty solid all year, pretty consistent. We saw that again tonight. We feel good about our ‘pen. It’s a big part of our early-season victories.”
White Sox starter John Danks (3-5) followed an impressive outing against the Yankees with seven effective innings against the Padres. Danks allowed two runs and scattered eight hits. He struck out four and walked one.
“I for the most part was able to get the kind of contact I wanted,” Danks said. “Obviously, made some mistakes and got burned for them, but all in all it was a good day.”
Danks pitched eight shutout innings last Saturday but ended up with a no-decision in Chicago’s loss to New York.
White Sox starters have 2.21 ERA in their last 10 games.
“They’ve come along,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think they’re getting stronger as we go along. Where we’re at right now, you stay with them and we have confidence when they go out there.”
Maybin led off the third with a home run on a 2-0 pitch from Danks. It was his first home run since June 9, 2013, at Colorado.
Danks got help from second baseman Gordon Beckham. Everth Cabrera put down what appeared to be a perfectly placed bunt, but Beckham dove at the ball in the infield grass and swiped the ball with his glove to Adam Dunn at first for the out.
Rene Rivera led off the fifth with a double to the warning track in center and later scored on Danks’ wild pitch to give the Padres a 2-1 lead.
“It’s kind of odd that they score a run on a wild pitch and we score a run on a wild pitch,” Kennedy said. “It’s crazy how the game works like that. For the most part, it’s nice to get that in the next inning right away.”
Alonso added insurance runs in the eighth with a two-run drive off reliever Javy Guerra, his fourth homer of the season.
NOTES: Kennedy struck out 12 against Miami on May 8. ... White Sox LHP Chris Sale (4-0, 1.73 ERA) will start Sunday instead of Monday, scuttling a potential marquee matchup against Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 3.57). ... Chicago DH-1B Paul Konerko, bothered by a stiff back since Tuesday, said he was available to pinch-hit. ... Ventura reiterated his support for RHP Ronald Belisario (3-0, 5.10) as the team’s closer, saying there was no need to break in somebody else. Belisario has three saves in six chances. ... San Diego RHP Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35) threw all his pitches during a bullpen session and is expected to throw a simulated game Monday. Cashner has been on the disabled list, retroactive to May 15, with soreness in his right elbow. ... Black said LHP Robbie Erlin (3-4, 4.53) continues to rehab his sore left elbow in San Diego and there is no timetable for his return. Erlin is on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 18.