Richard, Padres struggle in rematch at Citi Field

Lefty is tagged for three homers in club's second loss to Mets

Richard, Padres struggle in rematch at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- In the grand scheme of a 162-game season, two games doesn't even register a blip on the small sample-size radar, though Padres manager Bud Black would just as soon see something entirely different from his team on Thursday.

To be sure, dropping the first three games of the season to the Mets at Citi Field wouldn't be ideal -- but it wouldn't signal the beginning of an irrevocable one-way ride to the cellar of the National League West, either.

"We need to get a win, no doubt about it," said Black, following an 8-4 loss on Wednesday night.

That didn't happen on Opening Day and it didn't happen Wednesday, as the Mets rode the strong right arm of pitcher Matt Harvey and three home runs en route to their second straight win over the Padres in front of a crowd of 22,239 at Citi Field.

For the second time in as many games, a San Diego starting pitcher was hit hard early in the game. Two days ago, Edinson Volquez lasted three-plus innings. On Wednesday, it was Clayton Richard who scuffled, allowing seven earned runs and three home runs in 4 1/3 innings.

"He's got to get the ball down ... today he didn't," Black said of Richard, who led the league in home runs allowed (31) a year ago. "He's got to make an adjustment to get his grounders."

Richard, who said his command was amiss from the start of the game, allowed a two-run home run to Lucas Duda in the second inning. Two innings later, John Buck belted a two-run home run. Finally, in the fifth inning, Ike Davis hit a two-run home run as the Mets (2-0) raced out to a big lead.

Two of the three home runs -- to Duda and Davis -- came against left-handed hitters. That's a rarity for the southpaw Richard, who allowed two home runs all of last season in 199 at-bats to lefties.

"That's a little unusual for Clay," Black said. "He's been solid against lefties during his career."

But from his first pitch, Richard didn't feel like himself.

"When you're not able to command down in the zone without your best stuff, it's a bad night," Richard said. "My last couple of side [sessions], I felt good. My last outing [March 29], I felt good. Then, I got out there tonight and it wasn't there."

It might not have mattered much the way Harvey (1-0) was pitching.

Harvey had 10 strikeouts and faced the minimum through six innings. Nothing that Harvey did tricked or confused the Padres. He came right after them with a mid-90's fastball, challenging them.

Harvey retired the first nine hitters he faced before allowing a clean single to Everth Cabrera to start the fourth inning. But Harvey picked Cabrera off first base. After issuing a walk to Will Venable, Harvey got Carlos Quentin on a double-play ball.

"It's a good one [fastball] and it stays through the strike zone with velocity," Black said. "He threw some at the top of the strike zone that we couldn't get to. He didn't throw a lot of secondary pitches. It was all about his fastball."

This was a far cry from the last time Harvey faced the Padres on Aug. 5 of last season, when he allowed five runs in five innings with two home runs.

"I knew I struggled a little bit, obviously watching film from last year this morning, it was definitely a reminder that I gave up some homers out there and didn't have a great outing," Harvey said.

The Padres (0-2) had one hit to show for the first seven innings. They scored all four runs over the final two innings, including three in the ninth. By then, though, the damage was already done.

At this point, after allowing 19 runs in two games and getting five hits over their first 16 innings before the late spurt on Wednesday, the Padres could certainly take a victory. But one thing is for certain, though. No one is in panic mode, said first baseman Yonder Alonso.

"It's like if you go 0-for-20, it's seems bigger than it actually is," Alonso said. "But then you go out and have a good game and it all goes away. This is one of those things you really can't overthink."

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.