The Cleveland Guardians generated just enough offense to beat the Padres, 3-1, Tuesday night as their bullpen stepped in to stifle San Diego down the stretch.
The Guardians got the better of old friend Mike Clevinger, who only allowed two hits over six innings, but both hits went for home runs. Oscar Gonzalez got the party started with a solo shot in the second inning, before Andrés Giménez contributed a moon shot in the fifth inning.
That was all the offense Cleveland could muster until the eighth inning, when Steven Kwan drew a two-out walk and Amed Rosario reached on a swinging bunt to put runners on first and second for José Ramírez. Padres manager Bob Melvin brought in left-hander Tim Hill to get Ramírez to bat from the right side of the plate. But Ramírez was unfazed by the matchup, squeezing an RBI single through the middle of the infield for his 100th RBI of the season.
Aaron Civale walked a tightrope the entire time he was on the mound. The curveball he used to devastating effect against Detroit in his last start did not make the trip to San Diego, so he was forced to dance around the corners of the strike zone with his cutter and sinker. Civale certainly benefitted from more than a few generous calls by the home plate umpire, who even ejected Brandon Drury in the fourth inning after he protested a called third strike that was low and outside.
When all was said and done, Civale wasn’t terrible. He battled through four scoreless innings before running out of gas in the fifth inning, when he gave up a leadoff double to Austin Nola and then watched him score from third on a one-out RBI bloop single to left field by Jake Cronenworth. After Civale got Manny Machado to line out to center field, Terry Francona turned to Nick Sandlin for the final out and he delivered, striking out Jorge Alfaro to end the inning.
Civale’s final line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
After finishing up the fifth inning, Sandlin also took care of the sixth, pitching a scoreless frame. James Karinchak worked around a single and a walk with one out in the seventh inning, striking out Cronenworth and getting Machada to hit an inning-ending popout. Trevor Stephan also dealt with traffic in the eighth inning, striking out Trent Grisham to strand runners on first and second.
Emmanuel Clase closed it down in the ninth.