Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 18
Maybe if the Padres could clone a bunch of Clayton Richards, maybe then the bats would also remain awake and pounding the ball, just maybe. Not that the other hurlers don't have their merits, but Richard has been due some run support and wow, did the lumber show up on Sunday as the Padres pounded the San Francisco Giants, 7-1.
The Padres bats connected for 16 hits while the Giants only managed seven. And while Richard only went eight innings, between Clayton and Cory Burns, no walks were issued by San Diego pitching.
The Padres began early. In the bottom of the first inning with one out, Will Venable singled to left field and stole second base. Chase Headley struck out, but Carlos Quentin laced a two-out single into center field, scoring Venable.
Yonder Alonso singled, moving Quentin to second base, and then Alexi Amarista walked to load the bases. Cameron Maybin singled to center field, plating Quentin and Alonso, and after an inning, the Padres led 3-0.
The top of the second inning would see the only run scored by the Giants, and they didn't earn it. Buster Posey opened the frame, reaching second base on an error by Will Venable, and Posey scored after taking third base on a Richard wild pitch, then crossed home plate on a sacrifice by Hunter Pence.
The 3-1 Padres lead would last until the bottom of the fifth inning, when they padded it. Alexi Amarista opened the frame with a triple, and Cameron Maybin singled to left to bring Amarista home.
John Baker then doubled off of the glove of Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro, Maybin taking third base. After Clayton Richard struck out, Everth Cabrera doubled home Maybin and Baker, and the Padres had a 6-1 lead after five innings.
Meanwhile, Clayton Richard continued to mystify Giants hitting. And the Padres added on a run for good measure in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Will Venable smacked a Eric Hacker fastball into right field, it was Will's eighth of the year, and the Padres had a 7-1 lead and that was how it would end.
Clayton Richard had thrown 111 pitches and manager Buddy Black sent Cory Burns out to mop up the ninth, and all that Burns did was to strike out two Giants after giving up a couple of hits. Richard improved to 10-12 on the year and Ryan Vogelsong fell to 10-7. With the loss, the Giants fell to 1/2 game back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the National League West.
On Sunday, Everth Cabrera stole his 21st base without being caught. Shades of Rickey Henderson right there. Also notable, Chase Headley got run on Sunday by home plate umpire Brian O'Nora in the fifth inning, only the second time that Chase hit a nerve that deep on blue to get the finger pointing him back to the showers.
Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates come in to seek some revenge as the Padres did a pretty good job of dismantling the Bucs in their own home. The Padres will send Edinson Volquez (7-9, 4.31) while the Pirates will offer former Padre Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.56). Game time is at 7:05 PM PDST, heard on XX 1090 AM, seen on Fox Sports San Diego, not seen on Time Warner or Dish or AT&T U-verse because they want to control your mind and charge you money for that. Good bet is that tickets are plentiful for this series, so go and get them, screw the cable and satellite providers that think they're doing you a favor, unplug your box and find a cheap bleacher seat.