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Richard sharp, but 'pen, bats falter vs. Mets

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- No question, Clayton Richard wanted his shot at Asdrubal Cabrera with the game on the line in the seventh inning Friday night. The Padres' left-hander had cruised through six and was an out away from escaping a jam in a one-run game.

Richard, sitting on 88 pitches, never got that chance.

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SAN DIEGO -- No question, Clayton Richard wanted his shot at Asdrubal Cabrera with the game on the line in the seventh inning Friday night. The Padres' left-hander had cruised through six and was an out away from escaping a jam in a one-run game.

Richard, sitting on 88 pitches, never got that chance.

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Manager Andy Green went to his bullpen instead, calling on right-hander Craig Stammen. Generally a master at stranding inherited runners, Stammen couldn't live up to his calling card.

His first pitch to Cabrera was a belt-high hanging slider. It landed in the right-field seats, a three-run homer that broke the game open in a 5-1 Mets victory.

"Of course I would've loved to have faced him," Richard said. "But in a situation where I've kind of stunk the last four outings -- you have to earn opportunities like that. I need to do what I can to get better. You want to get into situations like that and be trusted with the ball."

Richard paused a moment, then acknowledged the other half of his skipper's decision.

"When you look back and see a guy like Craig coming in, I have all the confidence in the world," he added. "I can't think of another pitcher in this game I'd rather have coming in with a runner on base. It's a rare occurrence that he got beat. We'll live with that."

Cabrera opened the game by swatting a leadoff double, and he scored two batters later. When he came to the plate in the seventh, that was still the only run on the Petco Park scoreboard.

In total, Richard surrendered three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, while striking out four. He recorded 11 outs via the ground ball, holding the Mets to plenty of weak contact with his sinker.

"You just end up trusting the guy in the bullpen there," Green said. "It didn't work today. Obviously when it doesn't work you wanted to leave your starting pitcher out there. But you don't get the luxury of looking at it in hindsight. Clayton had thrown the ball really well. [Cabrera] is the one guy I thought had had good looks at him throughout the day."

Video: NYM@SD: Green on Richard's start, lineup struggles

Richard was out-done by Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who fanned eight over 7 1/3 innings. The Padres never mounted a serious threat until the ninth against neophyte reliever Matt Harvey.

Franchy Cordero led off the inning with a solo homer to straightaway center field, the fifth dinger of his rookie campaign. Jose Pirela followed with a walk, prompting Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland to spring from the dugout. Harvey promptly got Carlos Asuaje to pop to center, before Freddy Galvis bounced into a game-ending double play.

Video: NYM@SD: Cordero belts a solo homer to center field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Caught stealing: Cordero's speed tool -- like his power tool -- is elite. But even he couldn't outrun the picture-perfect throw from Mets catcher Jose Lobaton in the second. Cordero led off the frame with a jam-shot single into center field, then broke for second two pitches later. He got a great jump. But Lobaton's throw hit Wilmer Flores' glove -- which was already stationed on Cordero's thigh -- a split second before Cordero reached the bag.

Video: NYM@SD: Lobaton throws out Cordero at second base

Seeing-eye: Richard wasn't truly at fault for the Mets' seventh-inning rally. He's a master of inducing grounders, and the Mets hit two of them to open the frame -- neither struck particularly hard. Juan Lagares beat out a slow chopper to the right side, then Lobaton bounced a single barely out of the reach of second baseman Asuaje. Richard recorded the next two outs (also ground balls), but he wouldn't get a chance at the third.

VILLANUEVA EXTENDS HITTING STREAK
Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva returned to the lineup Friday after missing three games with left-hamstring tightness. He appeared to be shaking off a bit of rust with his 1-for-4 night. But he still managed to extend his hitting streak to 10 games with a sixth-inning single.

Villanueva's 10-game hitting streak is the longest by a Padres rookie since Yonder Alonso's 10-game run in May 2012. It's the longest streak among Major League rookies this season.

HE SAID IT
"Craig's been as good as anybody in baseball coming in in leverage situations. At one point in time, he shows his humanity and doesn't get the job done." -- Green, on Stammen

UP NEXT
Joey Lucchesi's rookie campaign is off to a better start than anyone could've hoped. Through five outings, he owns a 2.70 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning. Lucchesi has been especially effective at home, where he's allowed just one run over his last two starts. On Saturday at Petco Park, he'll match up with the Mets' Jason Vargas at 5:40 p.m. PT.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres