SAN DIEGO – Midway through a doubleheader caused by an apparent false alarm, the Padres remain blazing.
Mike Clevinger pitched the club’s first shutout in more than three years, and the Padres won 6-0 Sunday afternoon at Petco Park to clinch their first non-losing season since 2010.
Their 10th victory in 12 games improved them to 30-17 and dropped their magic number for clinching second place in the National League West to eight with 13 games remaining. A win in the second game Sunday would make that number six.
Winning the second game would also bring the Padres within at least 2½ games of the Dodgers in advance of their three-game series, which begins here Monday night.
Clevinger allowed two hits and struck out seven en route to throwing the first shutout by a Padres pitcher since Clayton Richard on Aug. 16, 2017. (Given that Sunday’s games are just seven innings apiece, Richard remains the most recent Padres pitcher to go nine innings in a game.)
Clevinger has a 3.00 ERA in three starts (18 innings) since being acquired from Cleveland in a trade on Aug. 31. He took the loss after allowing two runs in six innings in his debut and got the win when the Padres overcame his allowing three runs in the first inning on Tuesday.
“The first two felt like my new spring training,” Clevinger said. “… This is the one that clicked from the beginning. It didn’t take something catastrophic happening in the first for me to find it.”
Alex Dickerson, the second batter of the game, singled to right field against Clevinger. The next 13 batters were retired by the right-hander before Brandon Crawford’s two-out double in the fifth.
“It was well needed for a doubleheader for Game 1,” manager Jayce Tingler said.
The Padres needed nothing more than Greg Garcia’s two-run single in the second inning.
Wil Myers added a two-run single in the third. And the Padres got two more in the sixth when second baseman Donovan Solano made an errant throw on a potential inning-ending double play, allowing Austin Nola to score from second base and later for Jake Cronenworth to score on Jurickson Profar’s two-out single.
The extra game Sunday was necessitated by a COVID-19 test result on Dickerson, a Poway High alumnus, that turned out to be a false positive.
The teams were not officially notified they would play two until shortly before midnight Saturday, after many players and coaches had gone to bed. The official announcement wasn’t made until about 7:30 Sunday morning.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said he thought, if anything, the day off could energize his team. As if it could be discerned that they were playing any better than they have for the past month.
Since a five-game losing streak that left them 11-12 on Aug. 16, the Padres are 19-5. The last time they were 13 games above .500 was the end of the 2010 season.