Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Yonder Alonso is a doubles machine and now leads all Major League Baseball rookies with 22 on the season, but now he's done something that not even Tony Gwynn or Adrian Gonzalez managed to do. Alonso now has his seventh multi-double game this season, setting a new club record for most multi-double games in a season. Gwynn and Gonzalez could only manage six each as a member of the Padres.
"Putting my name in front of those guys, Tony and Adrian, that's pretty special," Alonso said after the game.
Starting pitcher Clayton Richard lacked one out to get the complete game, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits, all runs scoring on a pair of home runs by Matt Downs, who has had success in the past against Richard. "You guys figure out how to get him out and let me know," Richard said, joking with the media in the clubhouse.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Padres rolled over the Astros, 8-4.
Richard had things in-hand early, the Astros hits being mostly ground balls that found the right holes, but he pitched out of the early jams with ease. The only pitches he would have liked to have had back were two of them to Downs, but the Padres had built a lead that even a couple of Astros home runs couldn't seriously threaten. "It's so nice to have that type of padding in the game where a mistake won't kill you. I made a couple of them," Richard said.
The Padres struck Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez hard in the fourth inning and capitalized on some Astros miscues. Alexi Amarista singled and Logan Forsythe walked to open up the inning, and then Chase Headley hit an infield single to load the bases.
Carlos Quentin then came to the plate and Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Amarista, and moving Forsythe and Headley both up ninety feet. With first base open, Rodriguez put Quentin on to load the bases again and then Chris Denorfia singled to left, plating Forsythe and Headley, with Quentin taking third on an errant throw by J.D. Martinez.
But the error wouldn't have mattered because Yonder Alonso came up and doubled home Quentin - who would have scored anyway from second base, and Denorfia. The Padres led the Astros 5-0 after four innings.
Enerio Del Rosario replaced Wandy Rodriguez for the Astros in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Padres added a run. With two outs, Chase Headley singled, and Del Rosario attempted a pick-off throw which was errant, and Headley took off for second base and then tried for third when the ball wasn't retrieved quickly enough.
The throw by Matt Downs hit Headley in the back and rolled past Chris Johnson playing third base, and Headley came in and scored. "Don't fall down," Chase said afterward when asked what was going through his mind during the sequence of events.
The Padres led 6-0 after five innings, but the Astros cut the lead in half with one swing of the bat. With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Justin Maxwell singled on a slow-rolling ball hit just a couple of inches inside of the foul line to Chase Headley at third base. Headley waited for the ball to roll foul, but it stayed straight and Headley had no choice but to pick the ball up and hold it.
"It was probably a do or die play at best if I come and get it, but right there on the line you think it's going to roll foul, and it just didn't," Headley said.
J.D. Martinez then singled to right field, and Matt Downs socked a Richard slider that hung a little bit into the left field seats. At the end of six innings, it was 6-3 Padres.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Clayton Richard helped his own cause. Jesus Guzman drew a walk and Everth Cabrera came in to pinch run for Guzman. Cabrera then stole second base, his 17th base in 17 attempts, and Richard then doubled off a Del Rosario fastball, and the Padres padded their lead to 7-3.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Padres added another run. With one out, Chris Denorfia walked and Yonder Alonso then hit his second double of the afternoon, plating Denorfia, and the Padres led 8-3 going into the ninth inning.
Clayton Richard was going for the complete game, when with one out, Matt Downs hit his second homer of the game off of Richard to make it 8-4 Padres. After Richard gave up a single to Carlos Corporan, manager Buddy Black pulled Richard.
"We've talked about Clayton's work ethic and what he does in-between starts like with all of our starters, and he's equipped for a complete game. I was pulling hard for him, I have a couple of times over the last couple of years. It was efficient early on, he had the one inning that he was stressed a little bit, but he was efficient," Black said after the game.
Nick Vincent relieved Richard and got Chris Snyder to pop out, but after walking Jordan Schafer, Black pulled Vincent and gave the ball to closer Huston Street. Street struck out Scott Moore to end the game and notch his 15th save of the season.
The Padres improve to 38-55 on the year while Houston falls to 34-58.
Andrew Cashner (strained right lat) indicated Wednesday morning that he was free of pain. He hoped that he could be back as early as two and a half weeks. Buddy Black said that he would talk with Cashner about his progress.
Cameron Maybin was a last-minute scratch on Wednesday with what was called a "sore wrist". After the game, Black said, "He's been bothered by the wrist off and on this year, and before the game he was taking his batting practice in the [batting] cage, and it was just a little bit sore, and we decided to be a little cautious with it. We'll see how he is tomorrow."
Thursday, the Padres will send Edinson Volquez (5-7, 3.69) to the hill to face Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.43) of the Astros, where the Padres will hope to take the series. Game time is 7:05 PM, televised on Fox Sports San Diego, or on radio as always on XX 1090 AM. If you have Time Warner, you've already missed 93 Padres games, but we at the Reader will take care of you the best that we can.
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