Padres stay hot, prove too much for Astros

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Yonder Alonso’s propensity for

hitting doubles helped his team to another

win.

Alonso went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and the San

Diego Padres used a five-run fourth inning to beat the Houston Astros

8-4 on Wednesday.

With two more doubles on Wednesday,

Alonso has 23 this year and has hit two or more in a game seven times

this season, which is a franchise record. Adrian Gonzalez and Tony Gwynn

held the previous mark with six each.

“That’s pretty

unique,” Alonso said. “It feels good when you’re in the company of

those guys. I knew what was going on and the guys on the team were

making jokes about it. It’s a cool moment for

myself.”

Clayton Richard (7-10) allowed four runs in 8

1-3 innings to snap a two-game losing streak. The left-hander gave up

nine hits, including two home runs by Matt Downs and struck out

two.

“It’s so nice to have that type of padding in

the game,” Richard said. “You know you can make a couple of

mistakes.”

Richard fell short of his first career

complete game and added an RBI double in the

sixth.

“When you come to the ballpark as a starting

pitcher, that’s what you want to do,” Richard said. “It’s disappointing

not making a few pitches at the end there to go through with

it.”

The Padres won for the fourth time in five

games.

“It was a good performance today with

contributions all around the lineup,” Padres manager Bud Black said.

“It’s like we’ve talked about that it’s going to take all of our guys to

get it done, and today was a good example of a lineup contributing top

to bottom.”

After Carlos Corporan singled to chase

Richard in the ninth, Nick Vincent got one out, but walked Jordan

Schafer to put the tying run on deck. Huston Street entered and struck

out Scott Moore to convert his 15th save.

“We’ve

talked about Clayton’s work ethic and what he does between starts, and

he’s equipped for a complete game,” Black said. “I was pulling hard for

him.”

Downs’ three-run home run in the sixth landed

in the first deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left

field. He hit a solo shot off Richard in the ninth, also to left and has

three home runs against Richard this season. Houston has lost 14 of 15

games on the road.

“He’s very good,” Downs said of

Richard. “I think it’s just he made two mistakes and I think they were

both to me.”

After Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez

retired the first nine batters, the Padres broke through in the

fourth.

The first six batters reached base,

highlighted by Alonso’s and Chris Denorfia’s run-scoring hits. Rodriguez

also walked two in the inning and threw a wild pitch as San Diego built

a 5-0 lead.

“It’s kind of tough to put your full

finger on,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “That’s kind of been his

Achilles’ heel, being able to stop those from getting

started.”

Rodriguez (7-8) allowed five runs and four

hits over four innings, snapping a streak of 48 games in which the

left-hander had lasted at least five innings.

“He

didn’t want to come out of the game, but we had to try to get a run on

the board,” Mills said.

Alonso’s double in the

seventh scored Denorfia and gave San Diego an 8-3 lead. Chase Headley

scored on a Houston defensive breakdown in the fifth as Enerio Del

Rosario threw wide of first base on an attempted pickoff. Headley ran to

third and Downs skipped the ball past Chris Johnson as Headley

scored.

NOTES: Padres CF Cameron

Maybin was scratched from the starting lineup with soreness in his right

wrist. … Astros C Jason Castro was to have his knee drained on

Wednesday but is not expected to join the team this week. … Lucas

Harrell (7-6, 4.43 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the final

game of the series on Thursday. Edinson Volquez (5-7, 3.69) will start

for San Diego.