Richard struggles as Padres topped by ex-mate

Richard struggles as Padres topped by ex-mate
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' bats went cold and Clayton Richard endured a rough outing as San Diego fell, 8-2, to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second game of a three-game series at Petco Park on Wednesday.

Richard had been riding high, a winner of his previous five decisions and aiming for a career-high 15th victory. In this one, however, the left-hander reverted to early-season form, as manager Bud Black put it, a time when Richard lost five straight games.

Falling victim to a few softly hit balls that found holes, Richard gave up four consecutive singles in the first and was knocked out of the game before the Padres managed to get a hit against former teammate and current Dodgers starter Aaron Harang.

"That was a tough one," Richard said. "You hate putting your team in that type of hole. I made pitches and they didn't work out, and of course I didn't make some pitches and they took advantage. It was a rough day."

Richard was hit hard at times as well. Matt Kemp belted a ball off the center-field wall for a two-run double in the fourth, and Juan Rivera drove a solo homer to left earlier in the frame. All told, Richard surrendered six runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out two and did not walk a batter.

"It was April all over again," Black said of Richard's struggles. "I didn't think Clayton got hit all that hard until the [Rivera] homer. The first few runs were soft hits, but that's baseball. That happens."

The San Diego offense was shut down by Harang, held without a hit until Everth Cabrera scratched out an infield single with two outs in the fifth. The Padres chased Harang in the next inning by loading the bases with three straight singles and one out, but failed to push across a run against reliever Shawn Tolleson.

"I think that was the key, we couldn't get to [Harang]," Black said. "That goes to show you what they did against Clayton, they put the ball in play. When you put the ball in play, sometimes there's broken-bat hits, balls off the plate, ground balls find holes. It was their night tonight."

Chase Headley put the Padres on the board in the seventh with a double to center that plated Logan Forsythe. Yasmani Grandal followed with a single to score Headley.

"It's just tough to see around that time no matter what, and it goes both ways," Grandal said. "I was talking to some other hitters and they were saying the same thing. I actually was seeing [Harang] better today than I have done in the past. We were just hitting balls straight at guys."

Grandal also explained that Harang had his usual arsenal of pitches, but nothing the Padres' lineup, which struck out 13 times against the San Diego native in April, had not seen before.

"He was just the normal Harang," Grandal said. "Spotting up and down and throwing curveballs. Other than that, it was nothing out of this world."

Another former Padre, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, hurt his former team with a pair of RBI singles. Kemp had four hits, including a booming two-run homer to center, fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in four runs.

"He's a great hitter," Richard said of Kemp. "He takes advantage of mistakes as well as anyone. You can't make mistakes against him. That's kind of the way it is."

The win pulled the Dodgers within 3 1/2 games of the second National League Wild Card spot, trailing the Cardinals, who lost in Houston.

Tim Powers is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.