Clayton Richard is on fire right now. After tossing back-to-back eight inning starts, the big lefty shut down the Pirates for seven innings, and he nearly made it through eight again tonight. He had plenty of help from his offense, who staked him a three run lead right off the bat. Carlos Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg added some insurance in the late innings with a pair of solo home runs to make up for the only two Bucs Clayton allowed across the plate.
The Padres started their first-inning rally when Eric Hosmer drew the team’s sole walk of the game. Then the Friars hammered Nick Kingham with three straight doubles. Franchy Cordero sent the first one to right, and Jose Pirela brought Franchy and Hos around with a two-bagger to left. After a mound visit, Villanueva hit the final double of the inning to score Pirela, who would end up being the winning run.
After that, both sides were quiet until the eighth, when Villanueva launched his 11th homer of the season. In case you were wondering, that puts him tied for fourth place in the league. Clayton got into a bit of trouble after the stretch when he served David Freese a leadoff double. He moved to third on a ground out, and a Jordy Mercer single brought him home. Another single put Mercer in scoring position and sent Clayton to the showers. Craig Stammen allowed Mercer to come home on Sean Rodriguez’s double, but retired the next two batters to keep Clayton in the W column.
The game turned into a comedy of errors in the ninth, as the Bucs gave Manuel Margot multiple free bases. Manny reached first on a misplay by Mercer, and then he swiped second. Catcher Elias Diaz didn’t handle it well, blowing the throw and letting Margot get to third before Raffy Lopez had seen three pitches. And when Lopez did see a third pitch, he hit it far enough into right to send Margot home. After that, Spangy launched his pinch-hit homer to put the Padres up by four. That gave Andy Green plenty of breathing room to put Robbie Erlin on the mound for the bottom of the ninth, when he retired the Bucs in order.
The Padres will send Jordan Lyles to the mound tomorrow, hoping he still has some magic left from his last start. First pitch at 10:35 AM.