SAN DIEGO – Will Venable and Chris Denorfia hit two-run home runs while left-hander Clayton Richard combined with four relievers on a five-hitter to lead the NL West-leading San Diego Padres to a 5-0 win over the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
With an NL-best 75-49 record, the Padres matched their win total from last year, when they went 37-25 in the final two months to finish 75-87, leapfrogging Arizona to finish in fourth place.
The Padres entered the night with a 5½-game lead over the San Francisco Giants. The Padres began a stretch in which they'll play 16 games in 20 days at home, where they've won five straight and 13 of 16. Besides this three-game series, the Padres will play the Diamondbacks (49-77) again next week in Phoenix. Arizona has lost eight of 11.
Richard (12-5) won his career-best fifth straight decision, over six starts. He allowed three hits while striking out eight and walking five. It was San Diego's 16th shutout, second in the majors behind the New York Mets' 18.
Venable homered to right-center on a 2-0 pitch from Rodrigo Lopez (5-12) with one out in the second, his 11th. Chase Headley was aboard on a leadoff double. Denorfia drove the first pitch he saw from Lopez into the second deck with two outs in the fourth, his ninth. Venable was aboard on a walk.
Lopez has allowed 32 homers, the highest in the majors and matching his career-high set with Baltimore in 2006.
Lopez allowed five runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings, struck out one and walked one. Starting with an 8-5 loss at San Diego on July 17, Lopez is 0-5 with a 6.90 ERA in his last eight starts.
Miguel Tejada doubled with one out in the fifth and scored on Ryan Ludwick's two-out single that chased Lopez.
NOTES: Chargers rookie RB Ryan Mathews threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Padres manager Bud Black said RHP Chris Young will throw another simulated game sometime later this week as he continues his rehab. Young has been on the disabled list since April 12 with a strained shoulder and would like to pitch again this season. Time is running out, though, to send him on a rehab assignment in the minors. Black said Young's sessions will get longer and more intense each time. ... The Diamondbacks are 19-41 on the road, second-worst in the NL.