SAN DIEGO — The name and face are familiar but it’s a different Clayton Richard pitching for the San Diego Padres.
Richard was sharp for six-plus innings and Wil Myers homered as San Diego defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Monday night.
The win in the matchup between the NL West’s worst teams elevated the Padres into a fourth-place tie with Arizona.
Richard (3-3) won his third straight decision, charged with two runs and six hits. He struck out two and walked two.
“I feel like I’m better now than I have been in my career,” Richard said.
Arizona manager Chip Hale was impressed.
“He did a good job, pitched in, used his changeup and his breaking ball well,” he said.
Richard, in his second stint with the Padres, has resurrected his career as a starter. Used mostly by the Chicago Cubs as a reliever the last two years, Richard has allowed two runs or less in six of his seven starts with the Padres.
Once a strikeout pitcher coming straight over the top, Richard now pitches from the stretch and with a three-quarter delivery. Since San Diego acquired Richard on waivers on Aug. 6 he’s become the team’s most consistent starter.
“I didn’t have expectations when I can here,” Richard said. “I just wanted the opportunity to get on a big-league mound and show what I could do.”
Brandon Maurer pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances as the Padres snapped a three-game losing streak.
Braden Shipley (4-4), who had won three of his last four starts, was gone after four innings. Shipley surrendered three runs – two earned – and six hits with three strikeouts.
“I just didn’t feel like I had the command that I normally do, especially with my offspeed stuff,” he said.
Richard wasn’t in trouble until the seventh when Kyle Jensen’s triple scored Yasmany Tomas. Philip Gosselin drove in Jensen with an infield hit when Richard was late covering first base on a grounder to the right side.
Brad Hand relieved Richard and induced pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks to hit into an inning-ending double play.
“Brad came into a difficult situation with the momentum going and he stopped it,” said Richard, who lowered his ERA as a starter to 1.71.
The Padres scored three times in the fourth inning.
Myers’ solo blast started the rally, coming on an elevated outside 93 mph fastball. He went the opposite way over the fence in right field for his 26th homer of the season and a franchise-record 16th at Petco Park.
“The big thing for me is to stay on the fastball,” Myers said. “To hit it the other way is good. I wasn’t late. I was trying to work the ball that way.”
Alexi Amarista, who had two hits, followed with a two-run single to left, pushing the Padres ahead 3-0. It came after Derek Norris’ liner ricocheted off shortstop Chris Owings’ glove for an error.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller started his 30-day suspension for breaking Major League Baseball’s protocol for medical record-keeping on Monday.
Diamondbacks: OF A.J. Pollock (strained groin) ran for the first time since getting hurt on Sept. 9.
Padres: OF Jabari Blash (sprained finger), who has been out since Aug. 19, could rejoin the team at the end of the week.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley (7-9, 5.07) has produced three quality starts in his last five outings, going 3-1 with a 5.19 ERA. He has split his two decisions in three starts against the Padres.
Padres: RHP Paul Clemens (3-5, 4.94) has dropped three of his last four starts, but the win came in his last one. He threw five innings of scoreless ball when the Padres blanked the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 12.