Padres’ Richard aims for second win over Braves in June

ATLANTA — Backed by four home runs, veteran San Diego Padres left-hander Clayton Richard finally got his first career victory over the Atlanta Braves on June 4 in San Diego.

Now comes the hard part, though, as Richard tries to follow up that victory with one in Atlanta, where both he and the Padres have struggled.

Richard is 0-5 on the road against the Braves, going 0-4 with a 7.52 ERA in five games at Turner Field and losing last April during the first series at new SunTrust Park while giving up nine hits, including two homers, and four runs in six innings.

The Braves’ 4-2 victory over the Padres in the series opener Thursday night was their eighth straight at home over San Diego and 13th in the past 15 games against the Padres.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has lost 12 of its past 15 games in San Diego.

Richard (5-6, 4.40 ERA) is pitching well at home or on the road going into Friday night’s start against the National League East-leading Braves (40-28).

The 34-year-old former college quarterback carried a no-hitter through two outs in the seventh inning at Miami on Sunday and has pitched at least seven innings in six of his past seven starts while lowering his ERA by nearly two runs since early May.

It had been tentatively lined up for Richard to face the Braves’ Julio Teheran, who left early in the 11-4 Padres victory at San Diego on June 4 because of a right thumb contusion.

Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 5.03) will start opposite Richard, though, with Teheran now penciled in to come off the 10-day disabled list Sunday and face the Padres (33-38) in the series finale.

“He threw a good bullpen and he was fine,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Teheran. “The plan will be, unless something comes up from now until then, for him to start of Sunday.”

Teheran gave up three homers and then was pulled after facing one batter in the fifth inning at San Diego before the Padres battered the Braves’ bullpen in a seven-run sixth.

Given the nice cushion, Richard worked seven innings and gave up six hits and three runs in his first career victory over the Braves.

“You go from making sure you are executing pitches to making sure you are throwing strikes,” Richard said afterward. “It’s fun to have those types of games.”

Richard, not the offense, was the story on Sunday in Miami. The Padres are the only major league team to never throw a no-hit game.

Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles took no-hitters into the eighth inning this season before Richard made it to the seventh, though.

“He’s such a contact-oriented pitcher that those aren’t really the guys that profile to get no-hitters very often,” Padres manager Andy Green said of Richard.

While Richard has turned his season around, veteran left-hander McCarthy has been heading the other way for the Braves.

McCarthy was 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in April but gave up 14 runs in his first two starts of May and lasted just 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles a week ago.

The 6-foot-8 McCarthy, acquired from Los Angeles in an offseason trade, has enjoyed success in his career against San Diego, though. He is 8-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts.