BOSTON — The way things had been going for Clayton Richard, it only figured that he’d have to go through a day like this to get a win.
Will Venable hit a leadoff home run and Richard got some support for a change, lifting the San Diego Padres over the Boston Red Sox 5-1 Wednesday in a game delayed by rain four times before it was called after 7½ innings.
Richard (3-9) lasted through two of the delays during the game, giving up one run and eight hits over five innings to snap five-game losing streak. The lefthander had lost five of his last six starts with a no-decision in the other despite holding opponents to three or fewer runs five times.
“It’s good that he was rewarded for a performance that lasted like a 5½-hour period,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He started warming up at 1 o’clock and I told him he was out of the game at 5:25. He deserved that.”
Richard, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first by getting David Ortiz to bounce into an inning-ending double play grounder, felt as if all the Padres hitters were bothered by the lack of scoring in his starts.
“I think it’s just frustration as a team,” he said. “As a team you have a little more frustration.”
It was the second straight win for San Diego after a season-worst six-game losing streak. The Padres finished their road trip at 3-6.
Adrian Gonzalez hit four singles against his former team to raise his major league-leading average to .359 and drove in Boston’s run. The Red Sox lost for just the fourth time in 18 games and absorbed consecutive losses for the first time this month.
Ortiz went 0 for 3, stranding seven baserunners.
The game’s start was delayed 35 minutes. Play was halted with two outs in the top of the third for 38 minutes and again in the middle of the fifth, with that delay lasting 31 minutes. The final one in the middle of the eighth — was 40 minutes.
In the third delay, crew chief Ed Rapuano called for the tarp, but never left the field when he asked for the grounds’ crew to take it off a few minutes later while the rain appeared to be falling at a similar rate.
“I thought (Ed) did a great job in a very tough circumstance — with the weather and the field — to keep the integrity of the game,” Black said.
The Padres, who entered the day with the majors’ worst batting average at .233, scored their runs on just seven hits, but benefited from wildness by John Lackey (5-6).
Lackey left in the fourth inning and exited to a spattering of boos, continuing his rough season.
“He went back out after the rain delay and just looked like he lost his feel,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think the conditions were good for either pitcher, but he just lost his feel.”
Boston had 10 hits — all singles — and grounded into a pair of double plays.
Venable hit the game’s seventh pitch into the right-field seats — one of deeper parts of Fenway Park — for his first homer of the season and the first leadoff shot of his career.
“Off the bat (I thought I hit it out). But when I saw (Mike) Cameron running back I wasn’t sure,” Venable said. “You hit the ball in a lot of other parks and you don’t even have to look at it. But here, you’ve got a long way to go.”
The Padres took advantage of Lackey’s wildness, chasing him with four runs in the fourth. Orlando Hudson drew a leadoff walk and Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch before Cameron Maybin laid down a well-placed bunt for a single.
Lackey threw a wild pitch to allow a run and walked Venable, forcing home another. He also hit Jason Bartlett in the back with a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded and Chase Headley had an RBI single, making it 5-0.
When asked about pitching in the conditions Lackey said, “They weren’t great. I don’t think I’ve ever hit anybody with the bases loaded before.”
Lackey allowed five runs on four hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings, raising his ERA to 7.36. He had seemed to turn his season around, winning his previous three starts before Wednesday when he was booed briefly as he walked off after being pulled.
Gonzalez’s RBI single cut it to 5-1 in the fifth.
After ending the first, Ortiz left a pair of runners on in the third and fifth.
NOTES: San Diego improved to 18-18 on the road. … Gonzalez went 8 for 14 with four RBIs in series. … Francona said he’s still not sure RHP Josh Beckett, who missed Tuesday start with a stomach ailment, will be able to start Saturday in Pittsburgh. “He’s really sick,” Francona said. “We’re going to have to play this by ear. He’s got a good, old-fashioned case of the flu.” LHP Andrew Miller is a likely to start if Beckett can’t. Francona appears to be leaning toward playing 1B Gonzalez in right field during Boston’s upcoming nine-game road trip of all inter-league, thus allowing Ortiz to play first. “I don’t want David to go 11 days without playing,” he said. … Black announced Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley and Cory Luebke will start the three home games against Atlanta this weekend, Luebke making his first start of the year. … Hudson stole his career-best 11th base. … Both teams have off-days Thursday.
Yankees 4, Reds 2
CINCINNATI — Can’t score many runs, can’t beat an American League team. The Cincinnati Reds are stuck in a rut that gets deeper with each game.
Jorge Posada ended the second-longest homer drought of his career on Wednesday, connecting on a two-run shot that sent the New York Yankees to its fourth straight win, 4-2 over the Reds in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Posada’s tiebreaking homer in the sixth off Mike Leake (6-4) ended his stretch of 126 at-bats without one. His last homer was April 23.
Freddy Garcia (6-6) gave up two unearned runs in seven innings against Cincinnati’s struggling offense.
The Reds fell to 1-7 in interleague play. They dropped two of three over the weekend to Toronto, and now the first two against the Yankees. The main problem: Few runs, which makes it tougher on the pitching staff.
“Yeah, it feels like it, but the offense will get back on track soon,” Leake said. “I’m not worried about the offense. You’ve just got to keep battling, and eventually they’ll score some runs for you.”
Yankees third baseman Ramiro Pena committed three errors, including two in the fifth that gave the Reds their runs. Cincinnati has only seven earned runs in its last five games.
“We’re swinging at strikes, but we’re not centering the ball,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re all close games, but when you’re not clicking offensively, you know you can’t make one mistake. It seems like every game has been close.”
New York moved a season-high 14 games over .500 at 43-29. The Yankees have matched their season high with four straight wins, and have 10 victories in their last 12 games.
Garcia allowed three hits and one walk in seven innings, improving to 22-10 in 39 career interleague starts.
The right-hander is 4-0 in four career starts against the Reds, all of them in Cincinnati and all of them for a different team. He played for the Mariners, the White Sox and the Phillies in the first three.
“He kept us pretty much off balance,” said Fred Lewis, who had a sacrifice fly. “He kept the ball down and located it in the strike zone. We were really getting ourselves out.”
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 22 tries. He has a record 66 career saves in interleague games, including 22 in a row since 2006.
The Yankees got a pair of runs in the third on Brett Gardner’s infield single, Curtis Granderson’s hit-and-run single, Nick Swisher’s RBI groundout and Robinson Cano’s single. Cano has hit safely in the last 10 games.
The Reds needed help to get the runs back, and they got it from Pena, who was called up last week for his second stint with the Yankees this season.
Pena threw off target to first on Drew Stubbs’ grounder — the ball grazed the runner’s left cheek — for the first error. Stubbs made it to third on Edgar Renteria’s single, then took off for home on Ryan Hanigan’s grounder to third. Pena fielded it cleanly and had plenty of time to get Stubbs, but bounced his throw for another error.
New York finally did some slugging in the sixth. Cano singled and Posada hit the first pitch from Leake into the first row of seats in right field, near a fan wearing a Pete Rose “4,192″ T-shirt.
Notes: Yankees SS Derek Jeter (strained calf) threw for the second straight day at New York’s spring training complex in Tampa. … INF Eric Chavez (broken left foot) could run the bases in the next couple days. He’s taking batting practice and fielding in Tampa. … Posada’s longest homerless stretch was 140 at-bats in 2002-03, according to research by the Eiias Sports Bureau for the Yankees. … The Reds activated RH reliever Sam LeCure off 15-day DL and optioned LH starter Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville.