The Padres were one-hit, but that lone hit (a pinch-hit single by pitcher Clayton Richard) made history
The Padres fell to the Giants on Thursday night, 7-0, in large part due to a masterful start from San Francisco starter Chris Stratton. The night could have been even more special for Stratton, were it not for a single by San Diego pitcher Clayton Richard in the third inning:
However, there's something unusual about that hit. Richard did not start the game for the Padres -- as right-hander Bryan Mitchell struggled through his three innings of work. In the bottom of the frame, he was lifted for Richard, who picked up that base hit. Richard -- who pitched Monday -- did not stay in the game to pitch. Jordan Lyles took over on the mound to start the fourth.
That was all Stratton and the Giants would allow in terms of offense to San Diego on the night, though. That's somewhat remarkable, especially when you work it into this particularly impressive context:
The last time a Major League team was one-hit, with that lone hit by a pitcher who didn't start: 6/28/1935- AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) April 13, 2018
Mace Brown, a Pirates reliever, had the only knock in an 8-0 loss to the Cubs.
What's more, per Elias Sports, Thursday marked the first time in the modern era (since 1900) that a pinch-hitting pitcher picked up his team's only hit in a game. Mace Brown, referenced above by Cassavell, had already been pitching in that game in 1935 when he came to bat.
Richard's no slouch at the plate as far as pitchers are concerned, considering he blasted a three-run homer against the Rockies' Jon Gray his last time out.
Padres manager Andy Green echoed that sentiment when explaining his motive after the game:
"He's a hitting pitcher that we like right now," said Green. "He's swung the bat well, and we have a relatively thin bench, a four-man bench, and it's the third inning of a ballgame. So you're looking for somebody who can get on base in that situation. He did it. Without it, it'd be a lot different story tonight."
Still, it's pretty remarkable that all that stood in the way of Stratton and the Giants from a no-hitter was a pinch-hit single from a starting pitcher who didn't start the game, and then didn't pitch after his pinch-hitting appearance.