SAN DIEGO– Clayton Richard pitched seven strong innings and the Padres pulled away with a seven-run fifth inning to defeat the Braves 11-4 on Monday evening at Petco Park.
San Diego improved to 28-34 while Atlanta fell to 35-25.
The Padres offense had a coming out party on Monday in the series opener against the Braves. Each position player in the lineup recorded at least one base hit. Each position player besides left-fielder Hunter Renfroe recorded an RBI. The Padres also had three solo home runs in the game’s first four innings before breaking the game open in the 5th.
In the bottom of the first, first baseman Eric Hosmer got the home run bonanza started with a no-doubt home run over the right-center field fence. The home run traveled 433 feet and was hit so well that, upon contact, the outfielders did not even give it a look.
In the next inning, Cory Spangenberg hit his second home run in as many at-bats with a 385-foot shot into the right field bleachers.
After Charlie Culberson tied the game up for the Braves with a two-run double down the first base line in the fourth, it took two pitches for the Padres to take the lead back. Leading off the inning, Raffy Lopez hit a towering, 418-foot blast to put the home team ahead for good.
Then came the bottom of the fifth..
The bottom of the fifth began as big innings often do. After popping out in two previous at-bats, Jose Pirela worked a walk off starter Julio Teheran, who was promptly removed from the game with an undisclosed injury. Taking the place of Teheran was left-handed pitcher Luis Gohara.
San Diego treated the reliever rudely.
Known for his ability to demolish lefties, Renfroe greeted Gohara with a double down the left-field line to move Pirela to third.
After Franmil Reyes grounded out, Freddy Galvis drove Pirela home with a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-2. It would be the last out that Gohara would be able to get.
Following the Galvis sac fly, the Padres went triple-single-walk-double-double-double to knock the rookie left-hander out of the game and take a 10-2 lead. In that six hitter span, Cory Spangenberg, Raffy Lopez, Travis Jankowski, Eric Hosmer, and Jose Pirela all recorded RBI hits.
Franmil Reyes answered a Braves run in the top of the sixth with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning. It was the powerful outfielder’s 5th home run of the season.
The Padres wound up with nine extra base hits on the evening. That mark is a season-high.
Clayton Richard continues to be rock- solid
Clayton Richard entered Monday night’s game against the Braves with a 2.66 ERA against teams outside of the NL West.
He continued his mastery tonight.
Richard went seven innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. He struck out five and walked two, throwing 75 of 109 pitches for strikes.
When he was staked to a big lead in the 5th, the 34-year-old kept pounding the strike zone and inducing ground ball outs. Richard got 13 ground ball outs on the evening. He has now pitched at least six innings in six consecutive starts, which is the longest active streak in the major leagues.
An impressive performance earned him his 55th win as a Padre. That mark ties him with Bruce Hurt for the second-most wins by a lefty in franchise history.
With a bullpen game approaching on Wednesday, Andy Green needed Richard to provide a lengthy outing. The savvy vet came through.
In the first eight games of this 10-game homestand, the Padres are hitting 21-for-58 (.362) with runners in scoring position.
Hos stays hot
Eric Hosmer is riding a 16-for-31 stretch in his last eight games. His 2-for-4 evening was his 23rd multi-hit game, which leads the club.