(Sports Network) - The San Diego Padres will try to stay unbeaten at home this season versus the Arizona Diamondbacks when the two National League West inhabitants continue a three-game series tonight from Petco Park.
The Padres are 7-0 this season as the host in this series and have beaten Arizona eight straight times at Petco Park. They kept the streak going with Tuesday's 5-0 victory in the series opener and got a big lift from starter Clayton Richard (12-5), who tossed six shutout innings and struck out eight for his 12th win.
"I was able to mix it up enough and throw enough strikes to keep them off balance enough and just really trust our defense," Richard said on the team's site. "Our defense has been playing great, and [I needed to] understand that if I was going to get the ball over the plate, that they were going to make the plays."
Ernesto Frieri, Joe Thatcher, Tim Stauffer and Edward Mujica combined to allow two hits the rest of the way for San Diego's bullpen.
Will Venable and Chris Denorfia each hit two-run homers and Ryan Ludwick added an RBI for the NL West-leading Padres, who have won 12 of their last 15 games and sit 5 1/2 games in front of San Francisco for the division lead. San Diego also clinched a seventh straight month of winning baseball, dating back to August of the 2009 campaign.
Padres starter Wade LeBlanc will try to keep the momentum going when he takes the mound tonight. He had a personal two-game winning streak stopped and lost for the third time in five starts his last time out. In Friday's 10-6 loss at Milwaukee, LeBlanc allowed seven runs and seven hits in only 3 1/3 innings of work to fall to 7-11 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 starts.
LeBlanc, who is 3-5 in 12 home starts, is still searching for his first career win against Arizona. He is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts in this series.
The Diamondbacks have dropped two in a row and six of their last eight games and received a rough outing from Rodrigo Lopez last night. Lopez was battered for all five runs and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings to fall to 5-12 this season.
Justin Upton had a hit and three walks for Arizona last night and has reached base via a hit or walk in six straight games, batting .381 over that stretch. Adam LaRoche struck out three times in four at-bats, however, after entering the game batting .304 over his last 12 contests.
"From time to time you get into periods where things just don't roll the right way," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "That appears what's going on with us now."
Taking the mound for Arizona tonight will be Joe Saunders, who is 1-3 with a 4.24 earned run average in five starts since coming over in a late July trade that sent Dan Haren to the LA Angels of Anaheim.
Saunders has dropped three straight starts and previously pitched in Thursday's 9-5 setback versus Cincinnati. He was reached for four runs for the second straight outing and gave up eight hits in six innings. The lefty is 7-13 in 25 starts with both the Angels and D'Backs this season and owns a 1-1 record with a 3.77 ERA in two career starts against San Diego.
The Padres are 9-4 against the D'Backs this season.