- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Ian Kennedy knew this start was going to be a struggle from, well, his second pitch.

Curtis Granderson drove Kennedy’s 1-0 offering deep into the right field porch for his first leadoff homer in five years, and the New York Mets overcame Daisuke Matsuzaka’s early exit because of illness to beat the San Diego Padres 3-1 Sunday.

“I just didn’t have that put away pitch. I didn’t have that put away curveball until later in the game,” Kennedy said. “For me, it was a constant battle throughout the whole day. They did a good job hitting - even on some of those breaking balls that wasn’t down enough.”

Kennedy struggled for his second straight start. This time all the damage was done early.

Bobby Abreu added an RBI double in the first and Daniel Murphy had a sacrifice fly in the second after Kennedy (5-8) walked two, helping New York take the rubber game in a series between the two worst hitting teams in the majors.

The right-hander settled to pitch into the sixth inning. He gave up seven hits and struck out seven but walked a season-high four in 5 1-3 innings.

“I thought he did a heck of a job pitching out of the first inning to keep only at two runs. From there, hung in there, gave up one scratch run after that,” Padres manager Bud Black said.

Matsuzaka barely lasted one inning because of a severely upset stomach, but Carlos Torres (3-4) and two relievers shutdown the Padres.

Making his fourth start of the season, Matsuzaka was visited on the mound in the first inning by manager Terry Collins, a trainer and a translator after a two-out walk to Seth Smith. The 34-year-old Japanese pitcher took several deep breaths before remaining in the game.

He got the next batter, Chase Headley, on a groundout to end the inning. Matsuzaka then gingerly walked off the mound, shook hands with Collins and headed straight for the clubhouse.

“I knew I wasn’t physically fit to fill the starter’s role but I wanted to do as much as I could,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “That ended up being only one inning.”

Torres (3-4) relieved Matsuzaka to start the second, and the late-inning reliever looked unsettled. He gave up three straight singles, including Rene Rivera’s RBI infield hit. But he didn’t give up another hit in four innings, tossing a season-high 63 pitches.

Vic Black pitched two scoreless innings and Jenrry Mejia made his first appearance since leaving Thursday night’s game with a stiff back, working two hitless innings for his seventh save.

“We’re ready to do our job,” Torres said. “This obviously was an extreme situation.”

While the Mets used five extra-base hits - two doubles by Lucas Duda - in improving to 5-9 for June, San Diego fell to 3-10 for the month.

Batting .215 as a team, the Padres made several mental mistakes on the basepaths. Bud Black had several words for pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista when he returned to the dugout in the seventh inning after failing to run out a grounder that Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores bobbled.

“It’s not lack of effort. I know that. I think Lexi thought the ball was caught by the shortstop,” Black said. “I know it looks a little ugly on television but no, not lack of effort at all by any of those guys.”

Atop the order for the first time this season and back in the starting lineup for the first time since June 11 (calf injury), Granderson sent a 1-0 pitch from Kennedy halfway up the porch in right field for his first leadoff homer since 2009 with Detroit and 25th overall.

“I have no clue where it went,” Granderson said of the long homer.

Murphy then doubled to left field, David Wright walked and Abreu doubled in a run. But the Mets failed to add on against a shaky Kennedy, stranding runners on second and third.

NOTES: San Diego has scored one run or fewer in a major league-high 21 games. … The Padres placed RHP Nick Vincent on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 12, because of right shoulder fatigue. They selected the contract of RHP Blaine Boyer from Triple-A El Paso to fill Vincent’s spot. … The Mets completed the trade that sent Ike Davis to Pittsburgh on April 18. They received 19-year-old LHP Blake Taylor, the Pirates’ second-round selection (51st overall) in 2013. .

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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