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SF@SD: Kennedy strikes out seven Giants over six

He's wearing a new uniform, but Ian Kennedy will likely bring the same challenges he always has against the Rockies at Petco Park on Sunday afternoon.

Kennedy, who last faced Colorado on May 21, when he was with the D-backs, has a 2.96 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rockies. It's his lowest ERA against any division opponent, and he is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts at pitcher-friendly Petco since arriving in a July 31 trade.

In addition, he is rolling after one of his best starts in a Padres uniform, having thrown six innings of one-run ball and striking out seven in a victory over the Giants on Monday.

"He got some fastballs in good spots," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think that's sort of the key. The fastball around the zone is probably what he had going today. His changeup and curveball came into play, but not as much as I've seen in other games. When he needed to throw a strike, he did, and when he needed to get an out, he did."

The Rockies plan to use a two-headed attack in the finale of the three-game series, with rookie Chad Bettis starting and veteran Roy Oswalt backing him up.

Bettis has struggled with efficiency and consistency eight starts into his Major League career, and is still in search of his first victory after surrendering at least four runs in his last two starts.

"That's something I demand of myself," said Bettis after his last start of his issues keeping his pitch count down. "I'm sure they're demanding it of me as well, but that's something I expect myself to do without them telling me. So going 105 [pitches] in 4 2/3 is not acceptable, especially for me."

Oswalt hasn't pitched in a big league game in more than two months after pulling his left hamstring. He struggled to find a groove in four starts with the Rockies in late June and early July, allowing at least four runs in all but his most recent start, which ended after 1 2/3 innings.

Even if Bettis and Oswalt can shut down the Padres, an offense that mustered only six hits in Saturday night's 2-1 loss must find a way to produce behind them.

Rockies: Arenado returns to lineup
After getting an extra day to nurse a bruised right thumb, third baseman Nolan Arenado was back on the diamond on Saturday night.

Although Arenado's game-changing defense was on display in the seventh, when he strong-armed a throw to first to beat Nick Hundley, he finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

A candidate for both National League Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove for defensive play that has become a continuous highlight reel, Arenado is batting .271 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs.

Padres: Venable raking at Petco
With 15 home runs at Petco Park, Will Venable is quietly disproving the idea that San Diego's expansive home ground is a tough place for a power hitter to succeed.

Venable's 21 homers are the most for a San Diego outfielder since Mike Cameron hit that many in 2007, and his 15 at home are the most in a season in the park's 10-year history. He's slugging .631 since the All-Star Break, second in the Majors behind Tigers star Miguel Cabrera.

Venable, who often hits near the top of the order, also has a club-record eight leadoff homers this year.

Worth noting
• Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario, who didn't play on Saturday, is a .309 career hitter with seven doubles, seven homers and 29 RBIs in 27 career games against the Padres.

• San Diego is 6-12 against Colorado this year, including 3-5 at Petco Park.

• Rockies manager Walt Weiss may have a tough time deciding who should start at second base on Sunday. DJ LeMahieu is hitting .417 in four career at-bats against Kennedy, and Jonathan Herrera is batting .444 in nine at-bats.

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