PHOENIX (AP) - San Diego Padres right-hander Corey Luebke has seen it over and over this season: an Arizona Diamondbacks hitter circling the bases after a home run.
Luebke allowed only three hits in 5 2-3 innings but two were solo home runs and Arizona rode right-hander Ian Kennedy's strong performance to a 4-1 victory on Thursday night.
``Going into the game facing Kennedy you knew it was going to be one of those games where mistakes are going to cost you and it ended up doing it tonight,' said Luebke (5-9), who allowed two runs, walked four and struck out nine.
Luebke surrendered home runs to Paul Goldschmidt and Justin Upton. Of the 11 home runs Luebke has allowed this season, seven have been to Arizona - three to Upton alone.
``He's got me right now but I'll figure him out eventually,' Luebke said. ``He's not going anywhere. He sees the ball well off me and it's up to me to make the adjustment and not be so stubborn when I pitch.'
Two batters after Upton's home run, Luebke walked Ryan Roberts to end his night.
``Any time you are in a pitchers' duel like that, one or two pitches can cost you,' said Padres manager Bud Black. ``That was the case with tonight's game but Cory stayed with him. We were close enough but he just couldn't bunch enough hits together or get the big ball in the gap to get us closer.'
Kennedy (19-4) scattered seven hits and did not walk a batter over 7 2-3 innings. The right-hander joined Detroit's Justin Verlander and New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia as the majors' only 19-game winners.
``There's no doubt that he's come into his own this year,' Black said.
Kennedy faced only two batters over the minimum in his first seven innings before tiring and allowing a run on three hits in the eighth. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 38th save.
Upton's home run was his career-best 29th home run for the Diamondbacks, who won for the 14th time in 16 games to open a 7 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West. Arizona's magic number to clinch its first division title since 2007 dropped to 12.
Upton left the game in the seventh with a cold he caught during the Diamondbacks' recent series in Colorado.
Paul Goldschmidt gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a one-out, line-drive homer that landed in the first row of the left-field bleachers. Upton made it 2-0 in the sixth, hitting Luebke's first pitch deep into the left-field stands.
Arizona made it 4-0 in the seventh off Brad Brach. Brach hit Kennedy in the jersey with a pitch with one out, Willie Bloomquist singled and Aaron Hill hit an apparent double-play grounder to short. But Orlando Hudson's relay throw went well wide of the first-base bag, allowing Kennedy to score.
Miguel Montero followed with an RBI single off Joe Thatcher to bring home Hill.
Jeremy Hermida drove in Nick Hundley with an RBI single to left in the eighth for the Padres' lone run.
NOTES: Padres INF Logan Forsythe underwent arthroscopic surgery Thursday to debride his left knee. Forsythe will begin rehab immediately and should be ready for full activity in spring training. ... Kennedy improved to 5-0 in seven career starts against the Padres. ... San Diego has lost seven of its past eight against Arizona. ... Luebke's nine strikeouts matched a career high set on August 6 at Pittsburgh. ... RHP Mat Latos will start for the Padres on Friday. He will be opposed by RHP Daniel Hudson, who is 15-5 with a 3.18 ERA in his last 25 starts.
The Associated Press News Service
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