Matt Potter 6:30 a.m., March 29
Two Claytons, Richard and Kershaw battled it out Friday night at Chavez Ravine, in a true pitcher's duel that lived up to its billing. While the Padres staked themselves to a 1-0 lead early, all it took was one swing from Mark Ellis to propel the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The Padres got their run in the top of the second inning. Yasmani Grandal opened the frame with a double, and Yonder Alonso drew a walk. Cameron Maybin then grounded out to the pitcher, which moved Grandal to third base and Alonso to second.
With one out, rather than pitching around Everth Cabrera to face Clayton Richard with the bases loaded and one out, the Dodgers chose to face Cabrera instead. Cabrera then grounded out to second base, scoring Grandal, and the Padres went on top 1-0.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth inning, A.J. Ellis belted a 1-1 count Clayton Richard slider that was headed for the gap in left-center field. Center fielder Cameron Maybin made a full-speed diving catch, laying himself out in a full-body extension, robbing Ellis of at least a sure double.
In the sixth inning, Clayton Richard made one pitch he would like to take back. Tony Gwynn Jr., pinch hitting for Clayton Kershaw, reached first base on a bunt single. Jerry Hairston then forced Gwynn at second base and took first. Ellis came up and with a one-ball and two-strike count, Richard elevated a breaking ball and Ellis pounced on it, the ball winding up in the left field seats just a few chairs inside of the foul pole.
That was it. Both teams pitched well until the final frame, Richard going into the eighth before being relieved by Dale Thayer, and the Dodgers using a combination of Javy Guerra, Ronald Belisario, and ultimately Kenley Jansen to get the save, his 16th of the season.
The pitching duel was impressive, Richard going 7 1/3 and allowing only the 2 runs on 6 hits, with no walks while striking out two. Kershaw went 6 innings, permitting one run on 6 hits, walking three and striking out six. Richard fell to 6-10 while Kershaw improved to 7-5.
Padres starter Joe Wieland will be the biggest part of a decision on Monday with team staff and doctors concerning whether or not to have elbow surgery. The Padres will take great care with Wieland, who has pitched very well since being called up in a starting role.
Although he failed to figure in the scoring, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp continues to pelt Clayton Richard. Friday, Kemp went 2 for 4. Kemp began Friday evening 8 for 23 against Richard with 2 home runs and a .348 average. Richard did well to limit any potential damage by Kemp.
Saturday, the Padres offer Edinson Volquez (5-7, 3.52) against ex-Padre Aaron Harang (6-5, 3.51). Yesterday's left-handed match-up now goes right handed. Game time is at 6:05 PDST. Fox Sports San Diego will televise - for at least half of San Diego, because there are far too many reality cooking shows at Time Warner to make room for a little bit of San Diego Padres baseball. Otherwise, tune to XX 1090 AM on your radio dial while you watch your favorite episode of Extreme Chef IX, Cooking for Disenfranchised Padres Fans.