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Kennedy settles down after rough beginning

Right-hander retires last eight batters he faces in second spring start

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar smacked a first-pitch Dennis O'Grady fastball into the right-field lawn for a grand slam as Texas scored six times in the sixth and downed the Padres, 8-4, Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Making his second start of the spring for the Padres, right-hander Ian Kennedy ran into trouble early in the afternoon, but settled down as his outing wore on and retired the final eight batters he faced. The veteran, expected to be near the top of the rotation when camp breaks, finished his day allowing two runs on three hits while striking out a pair in three innings.

"Offspeed isn't quite there, especially my changeup but I felt better with my fastball, with my command," Kennedy said. "I probably felt the best my last inning, which is good."

For the Rangers, Alexi Ogando had a more productive day Thursday than his first start last week, when he allowed two runs on four hits in two innings. Against the Padres, the right-hander gave up one unearned run on five hits in three frames.

The Rangers jumped on Kennedy right off the bat Thursday, stringing together three consecutive singles to start the game for a 1-0 lead. Later in the frame, Texas tacked on another run when Kennedy balked home Elvis Andrus.

"As I picked my leg up and started to drive towards home, my foot came undone from the rubber," Kennedy said. "There's no way I was going to throw the ball then."

One inning later, the Padres got on the board with the help of an Andrus throwing error, capitalizing on the miscue on Rene Rivera's RBI single to left field.

The score remained 2-1 until the sixth when Padres southpaw Alex Torres allowed three hits and two walks before O'Grady came in from the bullpen and served up the long ball to Profar, his first of the spring.

Up Next: Listen to an exclusive webcast on mlb.com when Tyson Ross makes his second start of Cactus League play at 12:05 p.m. PT on Friday when the Padres travel to Maryvale Baseball Park to face the Brewers. Ross worked two clean innings, walking one and striking out one against the Reds on March 2. Carlos Quentin is expected to be in the lineup for the second time this spring.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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