In Sunday’s 4-2 victory for the Padres, in his first major league at-bat in nearly 11 months, Cameron Maybin waited for the right pitch. He gazed at a fastball, then a slider. He fouled off a change-up. He watched two balls sail by as the count went to 2-and-2.

The sixth offering was a slider that hovered in the strike zone a split-second too long. Torquing his 6-foot-3 frame, Maybin sent a liner hissing toward Anthony Rendon. The Nationals third baseman stabbed at the ball, but it skipped off his glove and went skittering down the left-field line. Maybin slid into second, feet first, for a double. As he ran, his bent right arm had pumped up and down in trademark style.

Fair or not, Maybin’s performance will be parsed over the ensuing days. The center fielder started in his first game for the Padres since last June. He went 2-for-4 with that double and a single, coming around to score on the latter. It was a welcome sight for a team that managed to split a four-game series despite scoring just nine runs, for a team that remains in search of an offensive spark.

There will be games such as Sunday’s, in which the Padres’ pitching buys them a bit more time. Ian Kennedy threw his third quality outing in as many tries. The veteran right-hander shrugged off a run in the first to allow the Nationals no more. In seven innings, he allowed three hits and no walks. His nine strikeouts were his most since July 2012. After hitting a batter in the second, he retired 16 straight batters.

Kennedy benefited from a defense that played crisply after committing a season-high three errors Saturday, the prime example being Will Venable’s full-extension, backhand grab in the right-field corner. Aside from consecutive doubles yielded in the first, that giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead, Kennedy’s dominance kept the Padres within striking distance.

They struck in the fourth. Chris Denorfia led off with a walk, Yasmani Grandal drilled a double off the top of the right-field wall, and Jedd Gyorko lifted a sacrifice fly for his first RBI since April 15.

They took the lead in the fifth, with Ross Detwiler having relieved Nationals starter Taylor Jordan after an apparent injury. Everth Cabrera cranked a two-out single to right. Denorfia followed with a seven-pitch at-bat that ended up with a run-scoring single up the middle, making it 2-1.