Cardinals' Lynn, Padres' Richard hope decisions are made

SAN DIEGO -- The Cardinals' Lance Lynn and the Padres' Clayton Richard face each other as the teams put a bow on their four-game series Thursday, and both deserved a better fate their last time out.

Lynn (10-6, 2.99 ERA) was sensational against the Giants while Richard (6-13, 4.94) was solid versus the Dodgers.

But each pitcher got an "atta-boy" and little else as they each received a no-decision when they likely deserved better.

Especially Lynn.

"He was spot-on," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Lynn worked eight scoreless innings for the first time in three years in St. Louis' 2-1 loss to San Francisco. He allowed a hit to the second batter of the game and then dominated, scattering four walks after that.

"He is a bulldog and he just comes right at you," Matheny said.

The 6-foot-5, 269-pound Lynn makes his team-high 29th start despite missing all of last year with elbow surgery. His comeback continues to build although he answered the naysayers earlier.

"He checked the boxes off a long time ago," Matheny said. "You could tell in spring training how sharp he was and it was impressive. A lot of guys have the strength because they've worked so hard in their rehabilitation. But to have the stuff and the location to go along with it was impressive."

Lynn, who is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in six starts versus the Padres, ranks in the National League top 10 in many significant pitching categories such as starts (28), opposing batting average (.211), ERA (2.99) and hits/nine innings (6.79).

He's held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 12 starts, which paces the majors.

"He is tough and he is talented," Matheny said. "And he's healthy."

Matheny reminded reporters that coming back from Tommy John is no slam dunk. But Lynn has done it.

"It's not an easy process," Matheny said. "I know it is a little more streamlined now and predictable of how things will go but there are no guarantees. You have to put the work in and Lance has done that."

Richard, who is 3-1 with a 4.39 ERA in 13 games (nine starts) against the Cardinals, has given the team what it expected when inviting him back this year. He leads a young pitching staff with an unmatched work ethic and he gobbles up innings.

He leads the Padres in innings pitched (173) and in seven of his last eight games he's gone at least six frames.

Richard went six innings against the Dodgers last week, allowing eight hits and three runs. He kept the Padres within striking distance as they were able to beat Los Angeles on Yangervis Solarte's walk-off homer.

But Solarte was able to do that because Richard did his part earlier in the game. Among the few mistakes Richard made was one that Cody Bellinger hit into the right-field seats for his 35th home run. It was first time a left-handed hitter parked one of Richard's offerings since 2013.

"Really, one pitch to Bellinger wasn't competitive and he took advantage of it," Richard said. "Other than that, I feel as if I threw the ball pretty well. Was able to keep us in there."