Will Venable hit a leadoff home run and Richard got some support for a change, lifting the San Diego Padres over the Boston Red Sox 5-1 Wednesday in a game delayed by rain four times before it was called after 7 1/2 innings.
Richard (3-9) lasted through two of the delays during the game, giving up one run and eight hits over five innings to snap a five-game losing streak. The left-hander had lost five of his last six starts with a no-decision in the other, despite holding opponents to three or fewer runs five times.
“It’s good that he was rewarded for a performance that lasted like a 5 1/2-hour period,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He started warming up at 1 o’clock and I told him he was out of the game at 5:25. He deserved that.”
Richard, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first by getting David Ortiz to bounce into an inning-ending double-play grounder, felt as if all the Padres hitters were bothered by the lack of scoring in his starts.
“I think it’s just frustration as a team,” he said. “As a team you have a little more frustration.”
It was the second straight win for San Diego after a season-worst six-game losing streak. The Padres finished their road trip at 3-6.
Adrian Gonzalez hit four singles against his former team to raise his major league-leading average to .359, and drove in Boston’s only run. The Red Sox lost for just the fourth time in 18 games and absorbed consecutive losses for the first time this month.
Ortiz went 0-for-3, stranding seven baserunners.
The game’s start was delayed 35 minutes. Play was halted with two outs in the top of the third for 38 minutes and again in the middle of the fifth, with that delay lasting 31 minutes. The final delay in the middle of the eighth was 40 minutes.
In the third delay, crew chief Ed Rapuano called for the tarp, but never left the field when he asked for the grounds crew to take it off a few minutes later while the rain appeared to be falling at a similar rate.
“I thought (Ed) did a great job in a very tough circumstance — with the weather and the field — to keep the integrity of the game,” Black said.
The Padres, who entered the day with the majors’ worst batting average at .233, scored their runs on just seven hits, but benefited from wildness by John Lackey (5-6).
Lackey left in the fourth inning and exited to a spattering of boos, continuing his rough season.
“He went back out after the rain delay and just looked like he lost his feel,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think the conditions were good for either pitcher, but he just lost his feel.”
Boston had 10 hits — all singles — and grounded into a pair of double plays.
Venable hit the game’s seventh pitch into the right-field seats — one of deeper parts of Fenway Park — for his first homer of the season and the first leadoff shot of his career.
“Off the bat (I thought I hit it out). But when I saw (Mike) Cameron running back I wasn’t sure,” Venable said. “You hit the ball in a lot of other parks and you don’t even have to look at it. But here, you’ve got a long way to go.”
The Padres took advantage of Lackey’s wildness, chasing him with four runs in the fourth. Orlando Hudson drew a leadoff walk and Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch before Cameron Maybin laid down a well-placed bunt for a single.
Lackey threw a wild pitch to allow a run and walked Venable, forcing home another. He also hit Jason Bartlett in the back with a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded, and Chase Headley had an RBI single, making it 5-0.
When asked about pitching in the conditions, Lackey said, “They weren’t great. I don’t think I’ve ever hit anybody with the bases loaded before.”
Lackey allowed five runs on four hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 7.36. He had seemed to turn his season around, winning his previous three starts before Wednesday, when he was booed briefly as he walked off after being pulled.
Gonzalez’s RBI single cut it to 5-1 in the fifth.
After ending the first, Ortiz left a pair of runners on in the third and fifth.
San Diego improved to 18-18 on the road. … Gonzalez went 8 for 14 with four RBIs in series. … Francona said he’s still not sure RHP Josh Beckett, who missed Tuesday start with a stomach ailment, will be able to start Saturday in Pittsburgh. “He’s really sick,” Francona said. “We’re going to have to play this by ear. He’s got a good, old-fashioned case of the flu.” LHP Andrew Miller is a likely to start if Beckett can’t. Francona appears to be leaning toward playing 1B Gonzalez in right field during Boston’s upcoming nine-game road trip of all inter-league, thus allowing Ortiz to play first. “I don’t want David to go 11 days without playing,” he said. … Black announced Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley and Cory Luebke will start the three home games against Atlanta this weekend, Luebke making his first start of the year. … Hudson stole his career-best 11th base. … Both teams have off-days Thursday.
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