Padres take series as 'pen locks down Dodgers

Padres take series as 'pen locks down Dodgers

Padres take series as 'pen locks down Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Richard didn't stick around for the end of the Padres' 4-3 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday to discuss the finer and not-so fine points of his 29th start of the season.

After he was done pitching, Richard was excused so he could drive back to San Diego to be with wife Ashley, who is set to give birth to the couple's first child sometime Thursday.

As it turns out, the real story came from the pitchers who followed Richard, the six relievers -- four of them rookies -- who combined for 4 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings as the Padres edged the Dodgers before a crowd of 50,560 who had probably never heard of these guys.

Nick Vincent? Brad Boxberger? Dale Thayer? Tommy Layne? These rookies, with notable contributions from Joe Thatcher and Luke Gregerson, ensured the Padres won the series from the Dodgers as well as wrapping up a 3-3 road trip in the process.

"Awesome," Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said of the work by the relief corps. "They're growing up. It's September now and since there's no fear of getting sent down, you're seeing guys beginning to buckle down and show us what they can do."

In the ninth inning, Gregerson was called upon to get the last three outs. He was able to get the first two before hitting Shane Victorino, giving former Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez the chance to hit. San Diego manager Bud Black countered with Layne, a left-hander, who struck out Gonzalez on Tuesday.

Layne fell behind 3-1 before Gonzalez fouled off three pitches and then ripped into a fastball, sending it hard on the ground toward the second baseman Andy Parrino. The ball bounced hard off Parrino's chest, but he recovered to get the not-so-fast Gonzalez for the final out of the game.

"That had some hair on it," Black said. "But he [Parrino] went old school and took it off of the chest."

The Padres (64-74) got a leadoff walk in the seventh by Will Venable, who stole second base, advanced to third on a hit by Chase Headley and scored on Carlos Quentin's fly ball to center field.

A half-inning after Quentin drove in the go-ahead run, Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin robbed Matt Kemp of an extra-base hit and likely a home run with a leaping grab at the base of the wall in straightaway center field.

"He's a good center fielder. He got a good jump and made a great play," Kemp said.

Rookie reliever Vincent (2-0) got the victory by getting four outs.

"We've got a lot of guys in the bullpen who can throw strikes," Vincent said. "For us younger guys who have been going up and down, I think that we're starting to get comfortable. And that's one of the best lineups in the league over there."

The Padres bolted to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Headley had an RBI double with another run scoring on an error on the play. Later in the inning, Yasmani Grandal had an RBI single.

"I had to go out and make some adjustments. It seemed like they were right on my fastball early in that first inning," Dodgers starter Aaron Harang said. "I had to go out and mix in a lot more off-speed pitches and breaking stuff to keep them off-balance."

The Dodgers (73-65) chipped away at the lead, scoring a run in the second, third and fifth innings. Luis Cruz had an RBI single in the second inning, Gonzalez did the same in the third before Hanley Ramirez tied the game with a run-scoring single in the fifth.

Despite being staked to a 3-0 lead, Richard allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings on 10 hits. He had one walk, one strikeout and got eight ground-balls outs. It was Richard's shortest start of the season.

Harang, who spent last season with the Padres, allowed seven hits to go with three runs (two earned) over five innings. He walked three and struck out one.

Shawn Tolleson (1-1) got the loss in relief for the Dodgers.

The Padres are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the D-backs on Friday at Petco Park.

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.