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SAN DIEGO -- Left-hander Clayton Richard and catcher Austin Hedges agreed on a plan Thursday afternoon as their San Diego Padres prepared to face one of the more aggressive lineups in the National League.
"I told Austin before the game that I wanted to throw a lot of strikes and get ahead in the count," said Richard.
The strategy worked to perfection against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who entered the game as the major league leader in runs scored.
Richard and relievers Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer held down the Diamondbacks as the Padres won 4-1 in the rubber match of a three-game series.
After scoring 11 runs in the series opener Tuesday night, Arizona scored one run on 13 hits and one walk while striking out 21 times over 18 innings in back-to-back losses.
For the second straight night, Eric Aybar was the offensive catalyst for the Padres, although both Wil Myers and Hedges connected on solo homers.
Aybar, who homered for the only run in the Padres' 1-0 victory Wednesday night, broke up a 1-1 tie with a two-run, fifth-inning double off Arizona starter Patrick Corbin on Thursday night.
But this series belonged to the Padres pitchers -- starters Jhoulys Chacin and Richard plus relievers Hand and Maurer.
"Richard was really good," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He spotted his pitches all game. He worked low in the zone and came high with his fastball when needed."
"Once I established down in the zone and got their eyes there, I could move the ball around," said Richard. "Hedges did a great job working with me. He knew what I wanted to do.
Richard (2-2) allowed one run on nine hits and no walks with a season-high eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Hand struck out four in 1 1/3 innings. Maurer struck out two in a perfect ninth to record his second save in as many nights.
San Diego pitchers totaled 14 strikeouts and no walks.
But that was only part of the story.
The three Padres pitchers threw a total of 134 pitches. Ninety-five were for strikes.
Corbin (1-3) allowed three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. He didn't issue a walk.
"Richard was on his game," Corbin said. "They threw well in the last two games of the series. Our offense is really good, so to do that and shut them down is pretty impressive."
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo added, "It was a tough night for us offensively. The guys we have in this lineup are really good hitters, and I think that their pitchers deserve a lot of credit for shutting down a very good offensive team the past couple of days."
The Padres took a 1-0 lead three hitters into the bottom of the first when Myers drove a 431-foot homer to left-center. The first baseman's fourth homer of the season extended his hitting streak to 11 games, which is one shy of his career long.
Arizona drew even in the second when Chris Iannetta doubled and scored on Nick Ahmed's one-out single to right.
A night after homering for the only run in the Padres' 1-0 win over Arizona, Aybar again came through with the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
Second baseman Yangervis Solarte opened the fifth by ending a 1-for-22 funk with a double past Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb. Hedges followed with a sharp single to center that forced Solarte to hold at third. Aybar then doubled just inside the left field foul line to knock in Solarte and Hedges as the hit rolled into the corner.
Hedges upped the Padres' lead to 4-1 with his third homer of the season in the seventh off reliever Randall Delgado. All three of Hedges' home runs have come in his past five games.
NOTES: Padres RHP Luis Perdomo will come off the disabled list Sunday to start against the Marlins in the finale of the Padres' six-game homestand. ... The JACK wines produced by Diamondbacks C Chris Iannetta will be featured at the prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine event this weekend. ... Padres C Austin Hedges stayed in the game after accidentally getting struck in the head by Iannetta's left elbow as the Diamondbacks were scoring in the second. Hedges was fielding a wide throw from RF Hunter Renfroe on the play. ... Padres LHPs Clayton Richard and Brad Hand each struck out two Diamondbacks in the seventh. Chris Owings reached first on a throwing error on the third of the four strikeouts. It marked only the second time in franchise history that Padres pitchers struck out four hitters in an inning. ... The Padres have won three of four series played thus far against National League West rivals.
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