SAN DIEGO — A.J. Preller envisioned a top-of-the-rotation piece when he signed Garrett Richards, in the midst of Tommy John rehab, to a two-year, $15 million last December.
Sunday served as a reminder of the reality of that promise: The 31-year-old Richards has quite ways to go to return to form.
Making just his second start with a reconstructed elbow, Richards lasted just 1 2/3 innings before the Padres eventually walked off a 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks on Seth Mejias-Brean’s second career homer in the 10th inning on Sunday at Petco Park.
The win gave interim manager Rod Barajas his first victory.
Two of the four runs Richards allowed crossed the plate in the second when Adam Jones pulled a 95 mph fastball over the heart of the plate over the wall in left after Richards walked the leadoff hitter. He walked a second batter before exiting the game.
Richards allowed four hits and walked two batters in the start, with 25 of his 38 pitches landing for strikes.
His two strikeouts arrived in the first two hitters of the game as Abraham Almonte and Josh Rojas swung through pair of bottom-of-the-zone curveballs.
None of the six curves that Richards threw in last week’s debut in Milwaukee fetched a swing-and-miss.
Nick Ahmed tripled immediately after Jones’ 17th homer and scored on Carson Kelly’s single. Almonte later doubled in the fourth run of the inning and Rojas walked with two outs to force Barajas into a second-inning pitching charge.
Rallies in the fourth and sixth innings spared Richards his second loss in as many big league starts since returning from his July 2018 Tommy John surgery.
Richards has allowed seven runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings with the Padres. He has struck out seven.
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