Cabrera sets tone as Richard cruises vs. Giants

Cabrera sets tone as Richard cruises vs. Giants

Cabrera sets tone as Richard cruises vs. Giants
SAN DIEGO -- There's no denying the fact that Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong expended a lot of energy, time and sweat in a start on a muggy Sunday afternoon that saw him burn through 96 pitches in three-plus innings.

Credit Padres leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera as being the primary culprit in not only Vogelsong's short stint but the decisive blow as San Diego salvaged a game in a three-game series, winning, 7-1, at Petco Park.

Cabrera, in his first start as a leadoff hitter this season, personally saw 30 of the pitches that Vogelsong tossed in his first three at-bats and then added a two-run double in the sixth inning as the Padres were able to end their five-game losing skid against the Giants (66-55).

"That's what we've told him ... be a pest," said Padres manager Bud Black. "One of the guys he looked up to when he was here was David Eckstein. He was a pest. Cabbie needs to be a pest."

Cabrera finished with three of the Padres' 16 hits, and teammate Cameron Maybin tied his career high with four hits, providing starting pitcher Clayton Richard (10-12) plenty of offensive backing.

Richard, who leads the National League in innings (176), was efficient throughout his start and allowed one run on five hits in eight innings. The run he allowed was unearned and he didn't walk a batter while striking out five. Richard, typically a ground-ball pitcher, got 11 flyouts in his 26th start of 2012.

"He answered the bell all day," Black said. "Early in the game, in his words, he was a little foggy, fuzzy. But as the game went on, he got his second wind."

Richard, who on Aug. 8 tossed a shutout against the Cubs, didn't finish this one, as he was done after throwing 111 pitches. Rookie reliever Cory Burns pitched a scoreless ninth inning to finish the game.

"[Richard] has been great. He and [Edinson] Volquez have been two of the guys that have been in the rotation all year, and Clayton has been amazing," Maybin said. "He continues to go out and pound the strike zone and get ahead of guys. He's just fearless. You love playing behind a guy like that."

The Padres' offense made sure Black didn't have a tough decision regarding Richard and the ninth inning as the team raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with Carlos Quentin knocking in a run and Maybin driving in two with a single.

And to think the inning all started with a Vogelsong strikeout of Cabrera, though Cabrera saw 13 pitches in the at-bat -- all fastballs. When he returned to the dugout, he was met with the oddest of greetings.

"Everyone said, 'Really good job,'" Cabrera said.

In his second at-bat, Cabrera saw a scant seven pitches before reaching on a single. Then in the fourth inning, he singled on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, which happened to be the last hitter that Vogelsong (10-7) faced before being lifted for a reliever.

"I think that changed the whole game," Maybin said of Cabrera's first at-bat. "You could kind of see the frustration in Vogelsong from that at-bat, and it just carried over. We fed off that energy from that at-bat. We fed off that. As early as it seemed, I think that was the difference in that game today."

Maybin wasn't alone in holding that opinion.

"At-bats like that are great for a club, particularly the leadoff hitter," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Five different players had two or more hits for the Padres (53-70), and third baseman Chase Headley was not among them.

Headley was ejected by home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora just before he headed out to play defense in the top of the fifth inning. This occurred after Headley struck out twice and flied out in his first three at-bats.

"I disagreed on multiple pitches on multiple at-bats and tried to talk to [O'Nora] about it at the plate and wasn't getting anywhere there, so eventually you have to stand up for yourself, and that's what I did," said Headley, who has been ejected twice in his career.

Headley, who leads the team in most offensive categories, was happy to see his presence wasn't missed.

"I'm glad that it came out that way -- would've felt worse if I'd gotten thrown out and we lost 3-2, so guys picked me up, and a great day for us," Headley said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.