MIAMI -- The box score may not necessarily show it, but Clayton Richard was essentially a one-man show in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Marlins on the final day of Players Weekend.One could start with his day at that plate of all things. The 33-year-old ripped his second career home
MIAMI -- The box score may not necessarily show it, but Clayton Richard was essentially a one-man show in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Marlins on the final day of Players Weekend.
One could start with his day at that plate of all things. The 33-year-old ripped his second career home run, a rocket down the right-field line on a first-pitch fastball from Dan Straily in the fifth.
"As pitchers we don't really get that opportunity that often. You have to enjoy it," Richard said.
But before he was blissfully trotting around the bases, pointing out to the Padres bullpen beyond left field where his teammates were laughing, Richard almost wasn't swinging away.
Padres manager Andy Green thought about having him bunt with one on and one out.
"[I] turned him loose in a bunting situation ... didn't see that one coming," Green joked. "But it's good for somebody like him to experience that."
Richard's rare long ball got the Padres back in it, tying the game at 2 -- and he kept it that way on the mound for seven strong innings.
Before a two-run homer by Giancarlo Stanton and a triple by Christian Yelich -- who scored on a throwing error -- in the eighth, Richard's final line looked much cleaner. He yielded five runs and struck out seven over seven-plus frames.
The lone hitter Richard struggled with was Stanton, who went 3-for-3 with a walk. That's why Stanton would've been issued a free pass had Dee Gordon not reached before him in the eighth.
"He was outstanding and deserved a much better fate than he's gonna end up realizing in the box score," Green said. "He struggled with basically one guy in the lineup all day, [and] everybody in baseball has tended to struggle with him."
Richard has been a selfless, team-first guy all season, as Green and his teammates noted. Sunday's outing was no different -- for reasons on and off the field.
Richard's long outing helped give an ailing bullpen a breather, a reason the left-hander faced Stanton in the eighth and not someone else.
"You walk through those things in your head, but there's really nobody that's had a great recipe of success against [Stanton]," Green said.
Along with Erick Aybar, Richard also made sure every one of his teammates flew out of Miami in style. Hawaiian shirts, summer boaters hats and khaki pants were the garments of choice awaiting Padres players after the game.
The selfless acts, home run trots and long, timely outings are all what Richard has brought to the club.
"He's the epitome of a leader," shortstop Dusty Coleman said. "He comes in the clubhouse positive every single day and treats us all really well. He goes out and shows it by his performances, too."
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami and covered the Padres on Sunday.