Millwood suffers first career loss in San Diego

Millwood loses in San Diego for firs time

Millwood suffers first career loss in San Diego
SAN DIEGO -- Padres pitcher Clayton Richard caused the Mariners considerable problems on Friday night, but not in the way one would expect.

Richard, sporting a .040 batting average, had two hits and three RBIs off Seattle starter Kevin Millwood to help San Diego slug its way to a 9-5 victory at normally pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

The loss was the first in Millwood's career in San Diego, after going 4-0 over eight previous career starts.

"The ball was up. The breaking balls weren't good," said Millwood. "I just didn't pitch good, bottom line."

  • 142 wins
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Lots of things were upside-down in this one, but the end result was a fourth straight loss for the Mariners this season against their "natural" Interleague rivals from San Diego.

The Padres, despite the worst record in the Majors, have already clinched the season series against Seattle, with two more games remaining this weekend at Petco.

The nine runs were the most in a home game this season by a San Diego club that ranks last in the Majors in scoring.

"I like the way we swung the bats and got after Millwood," Padres manager Bud Black said. "His style of pitching, he pitches up in the zone and tried to pick at the outside part of the plate and get fly balls. The first time through, we saw what he was trying to do."

The Mariners spotted Millwood an early 4-0 lead, but the Padres pushed across seven runs in the third and fourth innings against the veteran starter. Three of those runs were unearned, thanks to a pair of errors by the normally sure-handed Kyle Seager at third base.

San Diego busted loose for five runs in the fourth on four hits, a hit batter, an error and a sacrifice fly. The big damage came on a two-run double by Richard, a career .109 hitter who was 1-for-25 this season with one RBI before Friday.

"I got a ball that I could handle on the first pitch," Richard said. "With runners in scoring position, you want to take advantage of that and I was able to do that."

Richard later added a run-scoring single, his three RBIs helping him earn the victory despite giving up five runs (three earned) in 6 2/3 innings.

"That's no fun," Millwood said of giving up hits to the opposing hurler. "But you tip your hat. He did what he needed to do."

Franklin Gutierrez had three hits off Richard in a 4-for-5 night that included a two-run home run. Gutierrez, playing his eighth game since coming off the disabled list, raised his batting average from .190 to .308.

"I lost a lot of playing time, and it's going to take awhile to get back my timing," Gutierrez said. "Right now, I feel I'm seeing the ball a little better. I'm trying to put a good swing, trying to be calm at the plate. It seems like it's working right now."

Gutierrez's homer in the first inning was his second in as many at-bats, as he also went deep in his final at-bat in Wednesday's 14-10 loss at Arizona.

In those two swings, the 29-year-old doubled his home run total from 2011, when he hit just one in 322 at-bats over 92 games in an injury-plagued campaign.

"I feel stronger, obviously," said the former Gold Glove center fielder. "Right now, my body feels good. That's very important for me to keep feeling better. I'm just going day by day, trying to do the little things I can do, and just trying to play my game. That's it."

Miguel Olivo followed with a solo shot leading off the second for a 3-0 lead. It was Olivo's sixth home run of the year.

The Mariners tacked on another run in the third on a sacrifice fly by Justin Smoak and had the bases loaded when Richard got Dustin Ackley on a groundout to second.

The Padres closed that gap to 4-2 with a pair of unearned runs in the third, after Seager couldn't handle a hard grounder by Nick Hundley to open the inning. Millwood gave up a pair of singles in the inning, the Padres' first hits of the game, then saw things get away in a rough, five-run fourth inning that saw the Padres take a 7-4 lead.

After Seattle cut the margin back to two with an unearned run in the fifth, Richard responded with his RBI single to make it 8-5.

Millwood's night ended after five frames, as he allowed eight runs (five earned) on eight hits, his record falling to 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA.

Reliever Charlie Furbush threw two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.49 over his last 15 outings, before San Diego tacked on a run in the eighth off Oliver Perez.

Ichiro Suzuki continued his recent hot streak with a 3-for-5 night and is 8-for-15 on the current road trip to raise his average to .270. He and Gutierrez combined for seven of Seattle's nine hits.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.