Padres' Richard is King For the Day in Pittsburgh

Clayton Richard is 34 years old and has spent 10 years in the Major Leagues. Usually, when guys get to that point in their careers they're pretty much set in their ways.

But sometimes they surprise you.

Richard wasn’t exactly struggling but he wasn’t as effective as he wanted to be so he took a bit of advice from Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley, who wanted Clayton to drop his arm slot a touch in an effort to get a little more sink on his pitches.

All of a sudden Clayton Richard is a different and more dominant starting pitcher.

On Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Richard took a shutout into the 8th inning of a game the Padres won 6-2, their second straight win over the Pirates. In his last three outings Richard has thrown 23.1 innings, allowed seven earned runs, struck out 20 and only walked one batter.

Of course it helps when you walk to the mound for the first time with a lead.

The Padres scored three times in the first inning at PNC Park thanks to three doubles. Amazingly, none of those doubles was hit by Eric Hosmer, who leads the National League in doubles. Hosmer walked and went to 3rd base on a 2-bagger by Franchy Cordero, who both scored on a double by Jose Pirela, who scored on a double by Christian Villanueva.

For an offense that has had serious trouble stringing hits together this season it was a downpour of runs but they didn’t score again until the top of the 8th when Villanueva hit his 12th home run of the year. Since his franchise record 0-for-37 skid he has five hits in 13 at-bats.

After the Pirates got their two runs in the 8th off Richard the Friars got them right back in the 9th on a Raffy Lopez sacrifice fly to bring in Manuel Margot and a monster solo home run by Cory Spangenberg that nearly cleared the top of the right field bleachers and flew all the way out of the ballpark.

The Padres can match their longest winning streak of the year (a modest three straight) with a win on Sunday. Jordan Lyles is back on the mound after his flirtation with a perfect game against Grossmont High School alum Trevor Williams, who is 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA for Pittsburgh this season.

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