LOS ANGELES – Clayton Richard has a short memory for losing, and he's needed it lately.
San Diego lost each of his four previous starts, but Richard forgot all about that and pitched a memorable game to eliminate the Dodgers from playoff contention, officially ending Los Angeles manager Joe Torre's streak of postseason appearances.
Richard earned his first nine-inning shutout and complete game, Ryan Ludwick drove in four runs and the Padres won 6-0 on Tuesday night to remain a half-game behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants.
Richard (13-8) allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked two in his 65th career start.
"We've talked about someone having a grand performance. Clayton said, 'Today's my day.' It was great to see," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The players know that's in there in Clayton. He doesn't wear down. He has a nice presence during the entire game. He does a great job of turning the page, he doesn't dwell."
The left-hander went 3-0 with a 4.76 ERA in his four previous starts. His shutout was the 19th by the Padres this season.
"It was a long five, six days (until this start). Those are the type of starts where you wish you got on the mound the next day," Richard said. "It always feels good to get wins. Last year, we were wishing we were at where we are now."
Colorado fell 2½ games behind the Giants in the division with a 3-1 loss at Arizona.
The Padres moved within a game of Atlanta in the wild-card race. They've won eight of the last 10 games with the Dodgers, and five in a row.
"We're all acutely aware of what's going on," Black said. "It's a great race."
The Giants' 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs knocked out the Dodgers, ending Torre's streak of 14 consecutive playoff appearances that tied him with Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, who is retiring at season's end.
"If you had told me when I was offered the Yankee job back at the end of '95 that that was going to be the case, I'd have you checked for your sanity," said Torre, who won't manage the Dodgers next season. "But it's been a great run and it's been a lot of fun. This year was very trying and it was frustrating, but again, you knew that is going to have to come to an end at some point. Unfortunately, it was this year."
Los Angeles has lost six of its last eight games.
"We didn't play well enough to be in a pennant race," Torre said. "We thought the first half that we were going to be able to contend. Unfortunately, the second half started off badly and we never really recovered from it."
Ludwick gave San Diego a 2-0 lead on his two-out single to left field in the third inning.
"The first hit was a big one," he said. "I battled and got Clayton some runs early. He was the story. His pitching effort was unbelievable."
Ludwick drove in the Padres' sixth run on a fielder's choice grounder in the ninth. He has five multi-hit games during the road trip that began on Monday.
"Things are starting to roll a little bit," he said.
The Padres got to Chad Billingsley (11-11) for three runs in the fifth. After Will Venable singled to lead off, David Eckstein walked.
Miguel Tejada hit a line drive off Billingsley, who scrambled behind the mound to retrieve the ball and throw him out. Billingsley intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases, then grazed Ludwick to force in a run.
Yorvit Torrealba's sacrifice fly added another run before Chase Headley's RBI single scored Gonzalez to make it 5-0.
Torre said Billingsley lacked command and couldn't locate his pitches.
"We put pressure on him. We don't score and they score a couple of runs, so you're trying to be perfect out there," he said. "A lot of the pitchers have had to deal with that this year."
Billingsley gave up five runs and six hits in five innings, struck out six and walked three to lose his third in a row. He hit two batters in the same inning for the second time in his career.
Notes: Richard notched a complete game on June 30, 2009, at Cleveland, when he was with the Chicago White Sox and pitched six innings in a rain-shortened game. ... It was the second complete game by a Padres pitcher this season. The first came on May 13 when Mat Latos pitched a one-hitter to beat the Giants 1-0. ... With the victory, the Padres clinched at least a split of the season series for the first time since 2007, when they went 10-8 against the Dodgers. ... Los Angeles was shut out for the first time since Sept. 8, when they lost 4-0 to the Padres, and the 17th time this season, which leads the majors.