Padres pitcher Clayton Richard is 6'5" and weighs 245 pounds. He's a left-handed starter now, but in college at the University of Michigan he was a left-handed quarterback. So when he scored from first base in the 13th inning to beat the Angels 3-2 on Sunday at PETCO Park, Padres manager Bud Black had a little flashback.
"I saw that straight Michigan sprint,' said Black. "Michigan quarterback sprint. Lloyd Carr."
The fact that Richard was on base at all was due to a series of strange events. The Padres and Angels were tied at 2, and by the time the 13th inning rolled around both teams had used up all their available position players.
So, when Black wanted to make a pitching change, he was forced to pinch-hit with a pitcher. He chose Richard, who was 0-16 at the plate this season.
Lo and behold, Clayton lined a single to left field. Interestingly, that made him 2-2 in his career as a pinch-hitter. What is it about coming off the bench with a bat that makes him so successful?
"I don't know," said Richard. "I'll let you know when I figure it out, and apply it to my regular at-bats."
Will Venable followed Richard, working the count full. On the 3-2 pitch, Richard broke for 2nd. Venable lined a base hit to left field, where L.A. 2nd baseman Howie Kendrick was playing.
Kendrick was forced to the outfield because Vernon Wells injured his thumb on a slide, and his replacement Ryan Langerhans injured his shoulder running in to the outfield wall trying to make a catch. The Angels 13th inning defense also had left fielder Mike Trout playing center, 1st baseman Albert Pujols playing 3rd, 3rd baseman Maicer Izturis playing 2nd, and catcher Bobby Wilson playing 1st.
Getting back to the point, Kendrick (a 2nd baseman by trade, remember) bobbled the single by Venable. When 3rd base coach Glenn Hoffman saw that, he waved Richard around third and the big man scored standing up.
Venable was tackled by a gaggle of happy Padres. Richard was left largely untouched. That's probably because Clayton will be the starting pitcher in tomorrow's game in St. Louis.
Yet another crazy twist in a wacky game that gave the Padres a series win against L.A., and a winning homestand.
Also worth noting, rookie pitcher Miles Mikolas threw two innings in relief to get his first major league win and 1st baseman Yonder Alonso hit a pair of doubles. Alonso has 14 doubles this year, tied for 4th-best in all of baseball.