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SEA@SD: Richard goes 2-for-2, drives in three

SAN DIEGO -- It was one of those unusual nights where it was actually appropriate to ask Clayton Richard to pick which particular highlight he rated the best -- pitching into the seventh inning or his two hits that produced three runs.

The Padres' starting pitcher pondered the question for a moment before offering up a third alternative.

"Winning," Richard said, smiling. "Winning over anything. If we're winning, that's the fun. If we're winning, then I don't care how it happens."

Winning happened on Friday for the Padres, although it occurred in a curious fashion, as they rallied for a 9-5 victory over the Mariners before a crowd of 30,053 at Petco Park. It was a game that saw San Diego spot Seattle four early runs before they turned their spacious ballpark into a bandbox.

At the center of it all was Richard (5-7), who went 6 2/3 innings and won his third consecutive start, though he didn't appear to be long for this one after the way it started.

Before the Padres (25-46) took their turn to hit in the third inning, they were trailing 4-0, after the Mariners got home runs from Franklin Gutierrez and Miguel Olivo.

"After the first couple of innings, it didn't look like he'd make it into the seventh inning," said San Diego manager Bud Black.

But Richard pitched considerably better thereafter and, just as importantly, delivered at the plate with runners in scoring position, first with a two-run double as part of a five-run fourth inning, and then with an RBI single in the fifth inning as the Padres pushed past the Mariners (30-42) for good.

"It's not something that happens very often. He got a couple of knocks that hurt us tonight," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "Obviously, those are the guys -- the pitchers -- that you want up in that situation, but he really hurt us tonight."

It wasn't always easy, though.

Already trailing 3-0, Richard allowed consecutive singles to Ichiro Suzuki and Gutierrez to start the third inning, putting runners at first and third. Richard then got an important ground ball out, freezing Ichiro at third. Ichiro would eventually score, but Richard, who then walked two hitters, got out of the jam by getting Dustin Ackley to ground out with the bases loaded.

"That was a big moment in the game, keeping it within reaching distance," Richard said.

The Padres got to Mariners starter Kevin Millwood (3-6) for two runs in the third inning and then five in the fourth, after an error by third baseman Kyle Seager extended the inning.

With two on and one run in, after an RBI double by Everth Cabrera, Richard -- who came into the game as a .040 hitter -- turned on a first-pitch fastball from Millwood, sending it into the right field corner for a 5-4 lead. Later in that inning, Richard scored from second base on a single to right field, challenging the strong arm of Ichiro in right field.

"[Third base coach Glenn Hoffman] took a nice game," Black said. "Hoffy is right 99 percent of the time."

But Richard wasn't done hitting. One inning later, his RBI single gave the Padres an 8-5 lead.

"With him swinging the bat like that, to get production out of that spot and with some timely hits was big," said Padres right fielder Will Venable, who had three hits. "For us to have some good at-bats in a row and to take advantage of their mistakes, that's something we haven't done this year."

Richard got two outs in the seventh inning before leaving. He allowed three earned runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Seven different Padres had hits on Friday, led by Venable's three. Second baseman Logan Forsythe, in his first start since May 12 because of a sore left abdomen, had two hits and was robbed of another on a line drive. The Padres finished with seven hits with runners in scoring position.

"I saw some good at-bats in that five-run inning," Black said.

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