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Richard strong again, surging Padres beat Rockies

Associated Press

9/1/2012 1:45:08 AM

DENVER - Clayton Richard kept the San Diego Padres rolling into September.

Richard pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Quentin homered and the surging Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Friday night.

Cameron Maybin had three hits for San Diego, which has won two straight and 10 of 11.

"The list goes on of guys who are playing good baseball, and we're finding some consistency," the Padres' Will Venable said.

Richard (12-12) has found some consistency after a tough start to his season. He had his sixth consecutive strong outing to even his record. He was 6-10 after losing to the Dodgers on July 13, but came on strong in August, winning his last three starts and finishing the month 5-1.

Richard kept the ball down against the Rockies, getting 15 of his 19 outs on grounders. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.

"The last few months (he's) just keeping the ball down," manager Bud Black said. "Pitchers are always evolving and Clayton isn't one to stand still. Early in his career he was a high fastball pitcher. Now we've seen a lot of ground ball outs on pitches down in the zone."

Richard has used that formula to go at least six innings in each of his last six starts. His ERA has dropped from 4.14 to 3.74 in that span.

He started to elevate his pitches in the sixth when the Rockies scored twice.

"I didn't execute as late in the game as I did early," he said. "That cost me from going a little deeper."

Luke Gregerson allowed Andrew Brown's leadoff homer in the ninth before finishing up for his third save. The home run ended Gregerson's scoreless streak at 23 innings.

Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario also homered for Colorado, which has dropped two straight.

Rockies starter Alex White (2-7) failed to pitch past the fourth inning for his fifth straight start. He allowed three runs and four hits and walked three in 3 2-3 innings.

"I felt like I took a step in the wrong direction tonight," White said. "I've got to get back on track here. I had good stuff. Command, once again, is just killing me. I got to fix it, and I'm trying to get there."

Quentin put the Padres ahead 1-0 when he led off the second with his 15th home run of the season. They added another run when Yasmani Grandal scored on Logan Forsythe's single.

Venable tripled with one out in the third and scored on Chase Headley's groundout to make it 3-0.

The Rockies got one back in the bottom half of inning when Josh Rutledge scored on Pacheco's grounder.

"I thought we did a good job tonight in hanging in and giving ourselves a chance to win," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We stranded six runners and we did not pitch particularly well in the early part of the game."

Headley and Quentin hit consecutive doubles in the fifth to extend San Diego's lead to 4-1.

Solo homers in the sixth by Pacheco and Rosario pulled Colorado to 4-3.

"The last maybe 20 pitches, the ball came up a little bit," Black said of Richard. "Those were the two homers."

Maybin scored from second on an infield single by Chris Denorfia in the eighth to extend the lead to 5-3.

"It was a steal, trying to make something happen," Maybin said. "When I peeked over my shoulder I could see it was rolling away from (Rutledge). It was a big run."

NOTES: Headley finished August with 31 RBIs. ... The Rockies are expected to activate 1B Jason Giambi (viral infection) from the 15-day DL and recall RHP Guillermo Moscoso from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin surgery) was scheduled to play seven innings at shortstop for Colorado Springs on Friday. He will be evaluated Saturday in Denver. ... The Padres are expected to activate LHP Joe Thatcher (right knee tendinitis) on Saturday. ... San Diego RHP Tim Stauffer had right elbow surgery to repair tendon damage. He is expected to be ready for spring training.