Houston's Downs is up -- and up and up -- against Padres' Clayton Richard

It's no big deal, except to the Astros and first baseman Matt Downs, and to the Padres and starter Clayton Richard.

But it is one of those cool little things that sometimes develops in the long season between clubs whose summers long ago slipped away.

Downs has seven homers this season.

He's smashed three of them against Richards.

The first came in the third inning June 27 in Houston and delivered the Astros a 1-0 win. Talk about ruining a starting pitcher's evening.

The next two came during San Diego's 8-4 win Wednesday. Downs crushed a sixth-inning slider for a three-run homer, then walloped a ninth-inning cut fastball for a solo homer.

The first homer produced a comical moment at second base after Richard doubled in the sixth inning.

"You can't just let me cruise through a game," Richard called out to Downs, joking.

Downs laughed and told Richards that "at least you're not losing 1-0 today."

Richards could only shake his head after improving his record to 7-10 and his ERA to 3.86.

"He's hit a fastball, a cutter and a slider," Richard said of Downs' three homers against him this year. "I'll throw him a knuckleball next time."

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