Richard’s 5-hitter carries Padres, ends D-backs’ win streak
SAN DIEGO — Blown out in their previous two games and losers of five straight overall, the rebuilding San Diego Padres desperately needed a strong performance from Clayton Richard.
The 33-year-old lefty came through with one of the best outings of his career, a five-hitter that helped the Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Sunday.
“It was a big lift for what we’ve been through the last number of days,” manager Andy Green said.
Richard (3-5) struck out six and walked none in his fourth career complete game. He matched the career-best five-hitter he threw on Aug. 8, 2012, at the Chicago Cubs.
Richard also had an RBI single during a three-run rally off Zack Godley (1-1) in the fifth inning that was cut short due to fan interference.
The stellar performance came after Jered Weaver was knocked out in the first inning of Friday night’s 10-1 loss and Luis Perdomo failed to get an out in the fourth inning of a 9-1 defeat Saturday night.
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Richard said he wanted to give the bullpen a break.
“There was a little bit more importance with it today, with how the last couple of days have gone,” he said. “We wanted to be out there as long as we could to give them a little breather.”
The big lefty lasted only 3 2/3 innings the last time he faced the Diamondbacks, a 9-3 loss at Arizona on April 25.
“We knew we had to change something up,” said Richard, who added that he didn’t shake off catcher Austin Hedges at all. “I think just command of all the pitches around the zone. Not necessarily one that stuck out, but being able to do it in and out, up and down, that made a big difference.”
It was his first complete game since his career was derailed by shoulder surgery while he was with the Padres in 2013.
“Kudos to him,” Godley said. “He went nine with one run. It’s hard to compete with that no matter what you do. You’ve got to match him pitch for pitch and sometimes you don’t do that.”
Richard made it back to the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 2015 and last year before being released on Aug. 3. He rejoined the Padres a few days later.
Throwing a complete game “is a lot of fun,” he said. “That’s why we play the game, to have moments like these where you win and you’re able to help your team out.”
During Richard’s climb back to the majors, he played for Green with Double-A Mobile in 2014.
“You pull for a guy that’s as quality of an individual as he is,” Green said. “To have those moments, you know they’re coming because you know what kind of guy he is, but it’s still fun to see it and great to see him go out and get it done.”
Green said Richard is unquestionably the team’s leader.
“If you have a leadership role, you want to produce on the field. That makes a big difference,” Richard said.
Richard’s only costly mistake was allowing Chris Iannetta’s home run with one out in the third. It was Iannetta’s first swing since he was reinstated from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Iannetta had been sidelined since last weekend after being struck in the face by a pitch.
With three runs in, two outs and the bases loaded in the Padres fifth, a fan reached over the fence in the right-field corner and caught Wil Myers’ long foul ball. Myers was ruled out. Green challenged, but the call was upheld after review.
Ryan Schimpf hit a leadoff homer to start the rally, his 10th. Another run scored on an error by center fielder Gregor Blanco on Hedges’ single.
The Padres, who entered with the worst record in baseball, had more hits (six) and runs in the fifth inning than they did on Friday and Saturday combined. They managed only four hits in each of those games.
Godley gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings.
“I thought Zack was in control of each one of his innings,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “He gave us a chance. It was just more about Clayton Richard today.”
The Diamondbacks reinstated LHP T.J. McFarland from the 10-day disabled list (left ankle bruise) and placed RHP Taijuan Walker on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, with a blister on his right index finger.
RHP Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.09 ERA) starts the Diamondbacks’ opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29) on Monday night.
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Chris Iannetta
- Clayton Richard
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- San Diego Padres
- T.J. McFarland
- Taijuan Walker