Royals lose again to Padres at Petco Park, 4-2

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Kansas City Royals had another outfield assist at the plate, then had another glaring error.

That’s how it’s been going with the talented but young team.

Clayton Richard won for the first time in 12 home starts since August and the San Diego Padres beat the Royals 4-2 on Tuesday night for their third straight series win.

The Padres have won six of seven, including series wins against Boston and Atlanta.

Jeff Francoeur homered and threw out a runner at home for the Royals, who had only six hits in losing their second straight and for the eighth time in 10 games.

“We’re walking a fine line,” manager Ned Yost said. “We can’t make mistakes. When we make mistakes, it burns us. You’re not going to be successful when you’re walking that thin of a line, where you have to be perfect to win ballgames. We have to start swinging the bats better.”

Richard (4-9) hadn’t won at Petco Park since beating Arizona on Aug. 24. The Padres had lost his 11 home starts since Aug. 29, tied for the longest such stretch in club history. The left-hander was 0-8 in those 11 starts.

Including Tuesday night’s game, Richard’s ERA in his last 12 home starts is 2.76. He held the Royals to two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.

Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 23 chances.

Cameron Maybin had three hits and scored twice for the Padres, who gave Richard some early run support.

Ryan Ludwick hit an RBI single in the first inning. The Royals tied it in the second when Matt Treanor singled in Francoeur, who had walked and stolen second. Earlier in his at-bat, a foul ball bounced up and hit Treanor in the face.

Maybin beat out a high chopper leading off the second and scored on Kyle Phillips’ double to the gap in left-center. Richard sacrificed and Phillips scored on Will Venable’s sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.

Francoeur threw out rookie Anthony Rizzo trying to score from second on Orlando Hudson’s single to end the third. It was the 17th outfield assist at the plate for the Royals this season and their fifth in the last six games. Overall they have 31 outfield assists, tops in the majors.

They also had an error that allowed the Padres to pad their lead. Maybin singled leading off the fourth and stole second. He bluffed on Phillips’ fly out to left, and Alex Gordon’s high throw glanced off third baseman Wilson Betemit’s glove, went between the legs of pitcher Felipe Paulino backing up the play and into the Royals’ dugout, allowing Maybin to score.

Francoeur homered off Richard in the seventh, his 11th.

Paulino (0-2) allowed four runs, three earned, and 11 hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one.

“He pitched behind,” Yost said. “He was behind too much early. They had hits off him early but settled in, did OK and kept us in the game.”

NOTES: Gordon went 0 for 3 to snap his 14-game hitting streak. ... Padres minor-league OF Donavan Tate has been suspended 50 games following his second positive drug test. He will be given credit for 25 games already served while undergoing counseling for substance abuse. The rest of the suspension begins immediately. The 20-year-old Tate was the third overall pick in the 2009 draft. ... The Royals are 0-5 at Petco Park, including 0-3 in 2004, the only active park in which they don’t have a win.

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