OAKLAND (AP) — Athletics rookie pitcher Kendall Graveman used his recent demotion to the minors as motivation to get back on track.
If Oakland’s offense could do the same thing, manager Bob Melvin’s ballclub might have a chance to crawl out of the cellar in the AL West.
Graveman allowed five hits and two runs over seven innings, but the A’s sputtered at the plate, managing only five hits off San Diego starter Ian Kennedy and three relievers in a 3-1 loss to the Padres on Thursday.
“A game like that when you give up a couple runs, you expect to be in a better position,” Melvin said. “We just didn’t do enough offensively off Kennedy to get him on the other side.”
A day after setting season highs for runs (16) and hits (20), Oakland couldn’t get much going.’
Josh Phegley homered leading off the sixth but the A’s had only one other runner get past second base. Stephen Vogt doubled with two outs in the ninth and advanced on a wild pitch before Padres closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Billy Butler to end the game.
Graveman (3-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked one. He has a 2.27 ERA in six starts since getting called back up from the minors on May 23.
“When you get up and experience some failure, you actually have to understand what you are doing wrong,” Graveman said. “There’s a growing process no matter how long you play the game. I understood that when I went down there I had to work on a few things.”
Pat Murphy got his first win as San Diego’s manager while Derek Norris homered against his former team.
Matt Kemp hit his second home run in three days, and San Diego stopped a four-game losing streak. The Padres fired manager Bud Black on Monday and hired Murphy the following day.
They had lost two straight under Murphy and four overall before beating the A’s.
“We needed to win this game right here,” Kemp said. “We’ve played pretty good baseball here and there, but last night was pretty tough.”
Kennedy (4-5) gave up one run and four hits in six innings, allowing only one runner past second base.
Kennedy, who struck out Stephen Vogt with the potential tying run at the third in the sixth, has a 2.63 ERA in his last four starts after compiling a 7.15 ERA in his first eight.
Kimbrel pitched a one-hit ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances, completing a five-hitter.
San Diego struck out eight times, raising its total in four games against Oakland this week to 40.
Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick went down hard after colliding with center fielder Billy Burns while chasing Melvin Upton’s triple in the eighth. Reddick — who appeared to get hit in the face by Burns’ gloved hand and absorbed a knee to the groin — lay on the warning track for several moments as manager Bob Melvin and a team trainer rushed out from the dugout. Reddick remained in the game.
A day after setting season-highs for runs (16) and hits (20), Oakland couldn’t get much going.
Kemp homered in the fourth and Norris doubled the lead when he homered leading off the sixth. He had been hitless in six at-bats at the Coliseum since he was traded to San Diego in December.
Phegley homered in the sixth for Oakland, which had won four games in a row.
Melvin Upton Jr. tripled and scored on brother Justin Upton’s sacrifice fly into foul territory in the eighth.
Athletics: 1B Ike Davis (strained left quadriceps) played for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday and is expected to be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday.
Padres: RHP James Shields (7-0) pitches the series opener in Arizona on Friday and is third in the NL in strikeouts. Shields has fanned six or more in all but two of his 14 starts this season.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (8-3) takes his major league-low 1.60 ERA into Friday’s start against the Angels.