SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mike Clevinger is starting to pitch like the guy who excited the Padres' brass enough to trade for him during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Clevinger tossed seven impressive innings and Jurickson Profar homered for the third straight game to help San Diego beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Monday night in the opener of a five-game series.
Trent Grisham also connected for the Padres, who won for just the fourth time in 12 games against the pesky Rockies this season.
The Padres acquired Clevinger from Cleveland late in the 2020 season, hoping he'd help them make a deep playoff run. Instead, he injured his elbow during his final regular-season start, missed the first-round series against St. Louis and was forced out of the Division Series opener against the Dodgers in the second inning. He had Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2021.
Back healthy now, Clevinger (3-3) won for the first time in five starts, holding the Rockies to one run and five hits while striking out six and walking none. Two of those hits came in the sixth, when José Iglesias hit a leadoff double, advanced on C.J. Cron’s single and scored on Brendan Rodgers’ sacrifice fly.
“They got him here for a reason. He had to go through a tough time and rehab and all that stuff, which is kind of a lonely space,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “But he's back pitching like he has before. Velo really doesn't matter, sometimes it's a little more when he needs it. His cutter, slider, bigger slider — he didn't walk anybody. Fantastic.”
Luis Garcia got two outs with two runners on for his second save.
“With a doubleheader tomorrow, we needed seven innings out of the starter," Melvin said.
Profar homered on the second pitch from Antonio Senzatela (3-6), his third career leadoff shot and the first time he's ever gone deep in three consecutive games. His shot to right field was his 12th.
Profar also made a diving catch of Randal Grichuk's sinking liner in left field for the second out of the fourth.
“Just feeling good and swinging at good pitches,” Profar said.
Wil Myers returned from a two-month stay on the injured list with right knee inflammation and promptly got his 500th career RBI on a groundout to give San Diego a 3-0 lead in the first.
Senzatela allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, struck out five and walked three.