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Venable's single opens up the scoring

SAN DIEGO -- For a team that has mostly been buried early in its first homestand, the Padres got off to a promising start on Thursday.

Leadoff hitter Cameron Maybin tripled to center field and Will Venable singled up the middle to score a run against D-backs ace Ian Kennedy, representing about as positive a sign as the Padres have had during a rough opening week.

But that hopeful start quickly dissolved into another frustrating loss as a familiar offensive funk led to a 3-1 setback in front of 20,858 at Petco Park.

"We hit three balls on the nose but couldn't sustain it," Padres manager Bud Black said of the hits from Maybin, Venable and Chase Headley. "Kennedy got back on the right track."

That much became obvious as Kennedy improved to 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA in eight career starts against the Padres (2-5) by retiring 16 of the next 17 hitters after allowing three hits to start the game.

"It started off a little shaky in the first, and Ian settled in amazingly," said D-backs center fielder Chris Young. "It was kind of crazy, they kind of had their chance in the first, and then after that, I don't know if it flipped a switch in him or what, but he zoned it in and shut them down."

And that was that, a frustrating end to a rough opening homestand for the Padres, who went 2-5 facing the Dodgers and the D-backs.

The team opens a six-game road trip on Friday in Los Angeles, hoping that a change in venue might offer a change in results. So far in 2012, home cooking hasn't cut it.

The team has a batting average of .179 in seven games with 21 runs scored for an average of three runs per game. Both the Padres' on-base percentage (.298) and slugging percentage (.274) have suffered, too.

"As a group, we're not hitting," Black said. "That's got to pick up. It's not just one guy. Our offense has to come from everyone."

Kennedy (2-0) settled down after the first inning. He struck out nine in six innings, allowing five hits and one run.

For a time, he looked like the second-best pitcher on the mound, as Padres starter Anthony Bass, who was filling in for an injured Dustin Moseley, matched Kennedy pitch for pitch.

Bass allowed one run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts. He was mostly the victim to a high pitch count (88), as the Padres targeted 75-90 pitches to ease his move from bullpen to the rotation.

"Loved it," Padres catcher Nick Hundley said of Bass' performance. "I thought he threw the ball well. I liked his changeup to both sides of the plate. When he can throw that, he's tough to hit."

Bass allowed a run in the fifth inning when Young doubled to start the inning on a fly ball into shallow left field that a sliding Jesus Guzman couldn't corral. Guzman was playing Young deep and couldn't get to the ball quite in time.

"Guzie didn't get a great break on it," Black said.

Young ended up scoring when Aaron Hill singled to center field. That would be it for Bass, who has a 1.75 ERA in 56 2/3 career innings with the Padres.

"I got a little tired there in the fifth, but I hope to build off this start and go a little deeper next time," he said. "I felt strong and had a real good changeup. I wish we could have won."

The D-backs (5-1) took the lead for good one inning later when Willie Bloomquist reached on an error by shortstop Jason Bartlett, as his throw glanced off the top of first baseman Yonder Alonso's glove, which allowed Hill to scoot to second base when the ball bounced into the stands.

Jason Kubel followed with an RBI double off former D-backs reliever Micah Owings (0-2). Arizona took a 3-1 lead when Young hit his second home run of the series, this time in the eighth inning off Andrew Cashner.

The Padres didn't have a hit over the final three innings.

"There's ups and downs in this game," said Hundley, who is hitless in his first 19 at-bats of the season, one of several regulars who have struggled to open the season. "This is one of those downs."

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