Fourteen runs on Monday included four home runs and four doubles by the home team, but on Tuesday the Dodgers could manage just five singles and two walks in eight innings against the Padres left-hander. That offense wasn’t even station-to-station, because Richard made sure any Dodgers’ ride around the bases didn’t have many stops.
The Dodgers hit into 12 ground ball outs against Richard on Tuesday night, and four of those were double plays, one shy of the club record. They missed out on a chance to tie or break the record because Padres pitchers retired the final 11 batters of the game.
“His goal is to put the ball on the ground. He’s a high-percentage sinker, and that’s what he did,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He threw strikes, and got head of our guys. If he’s doing that, he’s going to be tough.”
No Dodger even reached scoring position. The only time anyone reached second base was sliding into the first out of a twin killing.
Richard struck out five in his eight innings, and became the second Clayton in as many days to win a game at Dodger Stadium. He needed just 99 pitches.
Just like they did on Monday, San Diego struck first again on Tuesday, stringing together a walk and three singles for a pair of first-inning runs against Kenta Maeda. The second run scored on a pop fly behind third base in short left field by Ryan Schmipf, caught by Corey Seager, technically a sacrifice fly to shortstop.
If that sounds rare, it’s because it is. Last season, there were only eight sacrifice flies all season that were caught by an infielder — three by a second baseman, three by a shortstop, and two by a first baseman.
Yangervis Solarte, who singled home the Padres’ first run in the first inning, delivered a towering fly ball over the wall in right center field in the third inning for a solo home run and a 3-0 San Diego advantage.
The Padres might have added even more, thanks to a leadoff double by Erick Aybar in the second inning, but when he was on third base with one out, a popped-up squeeze bunt by Travis Jankowski turned into a gift double play to kill the scoring chance.
In addition to the bunt pop-up double play, the Padres also grounded into two double plays of their own. So the Dodgers have that going for them, which is nice.
Home run: Yangervis Solarte (1)
WP - Clayton Richard (1-0): 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP - Kenta Maeda (0-1): 5 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts