MacKenzie Gore continued his strong spring while Mike Clevinger struggled in the Padres’ 11-6 exhibition loss to the Giants.
Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski welcomed Clevinger back with a leadoff single to centerfield. The 31-year-old righty got Tommy La Stella and Brandon Crawford to fly out and pop out in consecutive at-bats before Darin Ruff doubled home Yastrzemski.
Clevinger would bounce back, striking out Joc Pederson to end the first inning.
The second frame wasn’t as clean for the Padres’ long-haired starter, who exited after throwing 22 pitches while loading the bases with two outs. Luke Westphal came on in relief, allowing a bases-clearing double to La Stella, with all the runs charged to Clevinger.
Under the Spring Training rules implemented last season, Clevinger returned to start the third inning. He lasted all of ten pitches, allowing a single, double, two home runs, and four earned runs without recording an out.
“It felt real. Especially when the bats started cracking, it felt really real. But that was the big thing here. It’s just getting to this point. It’s been 17 months of waiting for that. It didn’t go as planned, but the only way to go is up from here,” Clevinger said of his start.
MacKenzie Gore took over in the fourth, tossing four innings of three-hit ball while allowing two earned runs but striking out four.
Despite allowing a leadoff single in the fifth, the 23-year-old faced the minimum through his first two innings.
Into the sixth, Gore cruised through the first two batters before walking Ruff and allowing a two-run home run to Michael Gigliotti to right-center field.
In his final inning of work, Gore allowed a leadoff single to Joey Bart before retiring the side in order.
The young southpaw is making a strong case to break camp as the Padres’ fifth starter, improving his spring stat line to 11 strikeouts and just one walk in nine innings pitched.
“Every time he pitches like that, we certainly have to take a look and see what the potential’s going to be,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of Gore.
The Padres return to action on Wednesday, hosting the Milwaukee Brewers with the first pitch set for 1:30 pm PT.