Catcher Terry Kennedy pondered the question of what his San Diego Padres team most needed to recover and regroup by Thursday night.

Was it getting the first two men on base? Was it more aggression? Shutting out the Cubs through the first inning? More power?

Kennedy, with a stern grimace, considered the alternative. "Luck," he said. "Some damn luck."

Kennedy, involved in perhaps the two most crucial plays of the game, felt he was doomed because the Padres haven't been getting their proper doses of luck here in Chicago.

Kennedy was set to take a relay throw from Garry Templeton and tag out Chicago's Keith Moreland in the third inning. But the ball took what appeared to be an unnatural bounce off the grass and skipped over Kennedy's shoulder.

Not only did Moreland slide in safely, but Ron Cey, who hit the double, advanced to third and scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0. So the bad bounce, as Kennedy would view it, cost his team two runs. "It wasn't Templeton's fault," Kennedy said. "It was a little short, and I had to guess whether it would bounce high or low. I guess low. Typical."

Even Moreland said, "I wouldn't want to live on how close that play was."

Then, Kennedy's game-ending out brought a gasp from the full house at Wrigley Field.

"It kept going and going," said Padre Steve Garvey. "I kept thinking, 'This is the turning point for us.' "

The drive sent left fielder Henry Cotto all the way back to the wall where it died in the wind. "I knew by the way things were going that ball wasn't going out," Kennedy said.

For a long while, Kennedy wasn't saying much of anything. His final out meant his team was trailing, two games to none, and one loss from elimination in this National League championship series.

He walked out of the shower, slammed a chair and started pulling his clothes on so hard it seemed as if they'd tear. "Are you taking questions," somebody dared answer. "Hell no," Kennedy shot back. "The way things are going, you think I'm taking questions?"

Kennedy returned minutes later for questions. The one most often asked was, how does his team come back from an 0-2 deficit.

"How tough is it? Damn tough," he said. "After winning the first two we'd have to beat (Rick) Sutcliffe on Sunday. That's how tough."

San Diego's Tony Gwynn, the league's leading hitter this year, cited the Cubs, not bad luck, as the primary reason the Padres return to San Diego without the split they felt necessary coming into the series.

"The Cubs got their leadoff guys on base, they advanced runners, they got good pitching, good short relief, the long ball. They've done what you have to do to win. The Cubs are playing real well right now."

Garvey said he thought the home field, which the Padres would have for the rest of the series, "is worth a run to a run and a half."

Problem is, the Padres lost these first two games by a total of 15 runs.