(Sports Network) - Clayton Richard has a chance to reach the 10-win mark for the first time in his career. TheSan Diego Padres hope their young starter can achieve the feat and keep them alone atop the NL West standings tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the continuation of a three-game series.
Richard already owns a career-best nine wins (9-5) this season in 22 starts to go along with a 3.60 earned run average. He has won back-to-back starts and five of his last six decisions, including Monday's 10-5 win at Los Angeles in which he was reached for four runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The left-hander, who is 4-2 in 10 road starts this season, squared off with Arizona for the first time in his career back on July 17 this season. In his team's 8-5 victory, Richard recorded the victory even though he surrendered five runs on nine hits through 6 1/3 frames.
San Diego could use a decent showing Saturday after suffering a tough 2-1 loss to the D'Backs in last night's series opener at Chase Field. Will Venable homered in the third inning to provide the scoring for the Padres, who have lost three of four and five of their last eight games. Their lead in the NL West has shriveled down to just one game over San Francisco.
Jon Garland was the hard-luck loser for the Friars as he gave up just two runs on three hits with six crucial walks and four strikeouts over seven innings.
"Jon bended a little but didn't break," San Diego manager Bud Black said on the team's site. "He got stronger as the game went on."
Diamondbacks young starting pitcher Dan Hudson had a strong outing of his own and held the Padres in check with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Hudson struck out four batters as well, while Jordan Norberto got the final out of the eighth inning and Aaron Heilman posted his fifth save with a scoreless ninth.
Adam LaRoche homered and Justin Upton collected two hits and an RBI for Arizona, which has won two straight and four of its last six games.
"These are the games we've been losing, and a lot of them we've kind of beat [ourselves] late in games," LaRoche said on Arizona's official website. "So to see guys come in games and get some big outs late -- we stranded a couple runners and made some plays behind them -- this was nice."
D'Backs third baseman Mark Reynolds did not play last night and is still recovering from a concussion suffered after getting hit in the head with a pitch on August 4. He has 25 home runs and 69 RBI this season.
Arizona will hand the ball to Rodrigo Lopez tonight and he's 0-3 with a 5.76 earned run average in his last four starts -- all Diamondbacks losses. Lopez pitched well enough for the win his last time out on Monday versus Washington, but suffered the loss for allowing all three runs in seven innings.
Lopez fell to 5-10 in 22 starts and owns a 4.64 ERA this season. He is 3-6 in 12 home starts and is searching for his first career victory over San Diego. The right-hander lost to the Padres on July 17 at Petco Park, as he permitted six runs in six innings of an 8-5 loss.
He is 0-2 in two career starts in this series.
The Padres had won six in a row against Arizona before Friday's loss and are 7-3 in the 2010 season series. On the flip side, they have lost in eight of their last 10 trips to the Valley of the Sun.