MIAMI– Clayton Richard took a no-hit bid into the 7th inning and Eric Hosmer went 2-for-4 with a home run, leading the Padres to a 3-1 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park on Sunday afternoon.
San Diego improved to 31-36 while Miami fell to 23-42.
Clayton Richard flirts with no-no
Clayton Richard was his vintage self on Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.
For a little while, it seemed like his outing might be a historic one. He fired 6 2/3 hit-less innings before Marlins third baseman Miguel Rojas grounded a single up the middle. According to baseball savant, the ball off the bat of Rojas had only a 39% hit probability…. But it was hit in the perfect spot.
Tyson Ross also lost a no-hit bid this season on a fly ball that had a 99% catch probability.
“He’s such a contact-oriented pitcher,” reflected Green after the game. “Those aren’t really the guys that profile to get no hitters very often, but you’re hoping no balls roll through a hole. There was no play anyone could make on that one.”
Even though he did not get the prize of being the first Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter, the 34-year-old threw seven strong innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run. He walked two and struck out five, throwing 55 of 94 pitches for strikes. Richard induced 11 ground ball outs on the day as well as 13 swinging strikes.
“For him to come out and do that today was big for us,” Green continued. “He gave the bullpen a blow, and our guys are in good shape for possibly another bullpen day in the next couple of days.”
Clayton Richard has now tossed at least six innings in seven consecutive starts, which is the longest active streak among left-handers in the major leagues. In that seven-start span, Richard has a 3.04 ERA and has held opponents to a minuscule .194 batting average.
Flashing the leather
San Diego played arguably their best game of the season on defense to back Richard and the pitching staff. More specifically, the Padres left side of the infield played a big role in the win. Shortstop Freddy Galvis made a couple of key plays to back his starter.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva, whose defense has been iffy at times this season, made the highlight-reel play of the game in the 8th. The Mexico native robbed Starlin Castro of a leadoff single with a sparkling diving play.
“I thought Christian Villanueva played the best third base he’s played in a long time,” complimented Green.
Hosmer keeps the good times rolling
Eric Hosmer entered Sunday’s game hitting 12-for-23 in six games against the Marlins in 2018.
In front of friends and family members, he continued to be a thorn in the side of the Fish.
In the fourth, Hosmer laced an 111-mph single to right field for a base hit. Then, in the sixth, Hosmer hit an opposite-field, two-run home run that ended up being the difference in the game. The home run traveled 413 feet and was Hosmer’s first home run in his hometown of Miami.
The victory continued a developing trend for San Diego. When Hosmer hits, the Padres usually win. Entering play, Hosmer was hitting .385 in wins and only .212 in losses.
Renfroe hits as well
Hunter Renfroe continued an impressive return from the DL with a 2-for-4 afternoon. He also scored the first run of the day for the Friars in the second inning.
“He’s doing great,” said Green. “Love where he’s at. He is swinging at strikes and taking good passes.”
Hand/Yates or Yates/Hand
On Saturday, Andy Green played matchups and went Brad Hand in the 8th and Kirby Yates in the 9th to secure the victory.
On Sunday, the skipper played matchups once again. Kirby Yates was brought on in the 8th to retire three right-handed hitters at the top of the Marlins batting order. He did so with two strikeouts and the help of a diving stop by Christian Villanueva.
Brad Hand only needed eight pitches to fire a perfect ninth and secure his 19th save of the season.
Four straight series wins
The Padres have won four consecutive series for the first time since 2015.