It was a familiar story for the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon, where another strong performance by a starting pitcher and some timely hitting by the team’s young stars led San Diego to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It marks San Diego’s sixth consecutive win, its second consecutive sweep, and puts the team just 2.0 games out of first place in the NL West.

Clayton Richard entered Sunday’s game with an ERA over 8 and a 0-5 record as a starter in 2013. Many felt that this could be his last start, and last chance, with the Padres. He simply hasn’t lived up to the player he was in 2010, when he threw over 200 innings while compiling a 14-9 record and an ERA of 3.75. However, against the first-place Diamondbacks, Richard looked like he was back in 2010 form. He was able to locate all four of his pitches, and he pitched to contact while relying on the Padres’ stellar infield defense.

Clayton was able to pitch for eight innings for the first time since August 2012. He gave up just one run, a single to opposing pitcher Ian Kennedy after Cliff Pennington had gotten on second base with a double, and walked zero batters. Somehow, Richard has gotten caught in the recent wave of fantastic starting pitcher by Padres’ starting pitchers.

Kyle Blanks homered for the second time in two games, this one a two-out, three-run shot into the Western Metal Supply building in left field the broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 8th inning. It was Blanks’ 8th home run of the season, which would’ve been enough to tie him for the team lead if Will Venable hadn’t hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning. Venable now leads the team with nine home runs in 2013.

Everth Cabrera was once again the star of the offense, and could end up getting some MVP consideration if the Padres are able to keep up these winning ways long enough to compete for a playoff spot. Cabrera finished 3-for-4 and was the catalyst to the rally that led to Blanks’ home run. Everth left the game with a hamstring injury after scoring on Blanks’ home run, although the severity of the injury is unknown.

Bud Black deserves credit for managing wonderfully over these last six games. The call to start Clayton Richard, as well as resting half of the team’s starters, worked out better than anyone could have imagined. The Padres are missing their starting center fielder, first baseman and second baseman, and are finding a way to get it done with the spare parts that they had on the roster. Black is a part of that, not just through motivation but by getting guys in the right position to make plays and get hits.

San Diego heads to San Francisco for an important matchup between team aces, with the Padres’ Andrews Cashner facing the Giants’ Matt Cain on Monday. Another series victory would put the Padres in a good position to take, and hold on to, the division lead for the next month, as their schedule gets easier after the Giants series.

John Gennaro

I'm John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @john_gennaro...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.