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CIN@SD: Kennedy holds Reds to one run over six in win

Right-hander Ian Kennedy has spent almost his entire career in the National League West and never once has he been intimidated by Denver's altitude.

In seven career starts at Coors Field, where he will face the Rockies on Monday, Kennedy has allowed more than three earned runs in a game just once for a 3.56 ERA over 43 innings.

But Kennedy registered an ERA two runs higher this June before limiting the Reds to one run over six innings in his first start of July.

"I was throwing the fastball down for strikes," said Kennedy after his most recent start. "When I see it going straight, exactly where I want it and not tailing or cutting, that's when I know I'm staying through the ball and not pulling off."

Kennedy's offense was also happy to see the calendar turn with an eight-run outburst in that game following a June in which it finished with a Major League-record low .171 batting average. But that level of production could be difficult to count on Monday considering no Padres player has ever faced Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek.

Matzek will be making his sixth Major League start and third at Coors Field. In last Thursday's start against the Nationals, Matzek struck out six over 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball. He left the 3-3 game only to see Matt Belisle give up a game-winning home run to Ian Desmond just two pitches into his appearance.

Still, Matztek was encouraged by a finding that catcher Michael McKenry made about him possibly tipping his offspeed pitches.

"I felt good, and Mac came in and reminded me of arm speed," Matzek said. "He could see something where I wasn't as aggressive with the offspeed pitches and the arm speed, and the hitters were able to pick that up."

Padres: Vincent nearing rehab assignment
Reliever Nick Vincent could start a rehab assignment before the All-Star break with an eye toward returning to San Diego's bullpen after the Midsummer Classic.

After throwing his first post-injury bullpen session Saturday, Vincent is scheduled for another Monday in Colorado before the Padres start their three-game series against the Rockies.

"Anytime a pitcher gets to the 'pen, that's a good sign -- it means he's getting closer to a game," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's got a couple more bullpen sessions; we're going to see how those go."

Vincent went on the disabled list June 15 with shoulder fatigue after appearing in 30 of the team's first 65 games. His ERA this season is 5.67, which was bloated by a few disastrous appearances right before the team placed him on the DL.

After posting a 1.46 ERA in the season's first month, Vincent's ERA ballooned to 4.50 in May and then 30.38 in four June outings before he landed on the DL.

Rockies: Starters receive good rehab news
Beyond Carlos Gonzalez (left index finger inflammation) beginning his rehab assignment, there is a wave of Rockies starting pitchers inching closer to a return.

After throwing a 35-pitch live batting-practice session to Gonzalez on Saturday, Eddie Butler (right rotator cuff inflammation) will take it easy for two days before tossing a 45-pitch simulated game Tuesday.

Jordan Lyles is set to throw 45 pitches Monday in his first bullpen session since fracturing the middle metacarpal on his left hand June 4. If all goes well, he's scheduled for a 30-pitch live batting-practice session Friday.

Tyler Chatwood (right flexor strain) will throw live batting practice Wednesday for the first time since experiencing tightness in his right forearm in his session last Wednesday.

With Brett Anderson (fractured left index finger) likely to return in short order after the All-Star break as well, the Rockies' rotation luck seems to be turning around.

"It looks like we're starting to get multiple guys back at the same time," manager Walt Weiss said. "They're not coming back at exactly the same time but they're trickling in here. It will be good to get everybody back."

Worth noting
• Entering Sunday, the Padres had the best record in the Majors in one-run games (17-9).

• Chris Capuano made his debut with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday one day after the Rockies signed him to a Minor League contract. Capuano didn't allow a run or a walk with four strikeouts against two hits in four innings as he continues to be stretched out into a starting role. Comments