Clevinger with encouraging return, bullpen falters late, Padres and Guardians split DH

May 4, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Progressive Field- Cleveland, Ohio

After a rainout on Tuesday in Cleveland, the Padres played their first doubleheader of the year on Wednesday.

Game 1

The story of the day was the return of Mike Clevinger to a major league pitcher’s mound. He had not thrown a pitch in an official major league game since Game 1 of the 2020 NL Division Series. Not only was the Florida native pitching for the first time in 575 days, but he also faced his former club in Cleveland. He appeared in 101 games over parts of five seasons for Cleveland before arriving in San Diego via trade at the deadline in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Understandably, there were some jitters evident from Clevinger on the mound. However, he opened the game with two scoreless frames.

 

The Padres got on the board early in the first inning after Eric Hosmer singled home a run. Hosmer continues his hot trend, having hit safely in eight of his last nine games. He has six RBIs in his last three games.

The Friars got two more against Cleveland starter Zach Plesac in the third inning. Manny Machado launched his fifth home run of the season, tying Jurickson Profar for the team lead. San Diego entered the bottom of the third ahead 3-0.

Clevinger surrendered a double and a single to open up the frame before rookie sensation Steven Kwan singled home a run, cutting the Padres’ lead to 3-1. Clevinger was able to avoid further trouble.

 

In the bottom of the fifth, things got a little dicey for the Padres. Still nursing a two-run lead, Clevinger got two outs but also walked two batters. Manager Bob Melvin left him in to face three-time All-Star Jose Ramirez with one on and two outs, hoping to let him finish five full innings. Ramirez worked a walk, and Clevinger’s season debut was finished.

Steven Wilson relieved him and struggled with location, walking the first batter he faced. Then ex-Padre Josh Naylor lined a single over the shift in right field, which scored two runs and tied the game. Both runs were charged to Clevinger, ending his day with 4 2/3 innings and three earned runs. He also walked three and struck out four.

Following the game, Clevinger was emotional after reflecting back on his journey back to the big leagues following his second Tommy John surgery. ““I wasn’t sure I was going to pitch again,” he said, “so this is big.”

The offense picked up the team after the struggles in the fifth inning. Ha-Seong Kim lead off the sixth with a double. He reached third on a Matt Beaty single. Austin Nola lined a double down the right field line, scoring Kim as San Diego re-took the lead. Jake Cronenworth later scored Beaty on a sacrifice fly, increasing the Padres’ lead back to two.

Cleveland was able to scratch a run across against Nabil Crismatt in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to one.

Luis Garcia and Taylor Rogers worked two scoreless innings to finish off the 5-4 win for the Padres. Rogers earned his 10th save of the year, tying Josh Hader for the National League lead.

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Game 2

MacKenzie Gore made his fourth start of his big league career to complete the doubleheader in Cleveland.

The Padres once again scored in the first inning, this time tagging former Padres righty Cal Quantrill with three runs in the opening frame. Following two walks, Eric Hosmer lined a double into right-center, scoring two runs.

Kim singled up the middle to score Hosmer, giving the Padres an early 3-0 lead. This allowed the rookie lefty Gore to settle in.

Gore allowed just one run over 5 2/3 innings, giving way to Craig Stammen to finish off the bottom of the sixth.

Stammen surrendered a run in the seventh following a double by Ernie Clement but worked out of it, preserving the Padres’ slim lead.

Desperately needing insurance runs, the Padres bats went to work in the top of the eighth. Cronenworth led off with a single. Machado reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole his fifth base of the season. As of now, Machado is the only player in the league with at least five homers and five steals.

Profar made contact on a check swing and sent the ball dribbling down the left field line for a fortunate RBI double. This gave the Padres a little more breathing room at 4-2. The Friars were able to load the bases after reliever Trevor Stephan began to labor, walking Hosmer intentionally and then Kim unintentionally to load the bases.


C.J. Abrams then worked a walk with the bases loaded, scoring another run.

The Guardians came storming back in the bottom of the eighth. Tim Hill walked Ramirez and allowed a single to Franmil Reyes. Then with two outs, Andres Gimenez dribbled a ball down the third base line and under Machado’s glove, who was charged with an error. This scored a run, and the game was within two.

Austin Hedges then blooped a single into right field, which cut the lead to one and put runners on first and third for Naylor. Robert Suarez came in trying to put out the fire, but Naylor lined a single into center, tying the game at five.

Suarez worked a soreless bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

The Padres squandered a chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th with poor plate appearances. This set up the Guardians with a chance to walk it off in the bottom half with the game still tied.

Dinelson Lamet was not able to get an out, surrendering a walk-off single to Kwan, giving the Guardians the 6-5 win. “It was a tough way to end a good trip,” manager Bob Melvin said after the game.

The Padres now head home for a four-game set with the Miami Marlins.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.
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