Clevinger impressive in return, Padres edge Guardians 5-4

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — Mike Clevinger held it together as long as he could.

But after finally getting back on a major league mound following elbow surgery, a lockout, knee sprain and a rainout that had delayed his return for San Diego, Clevinger couldn’t control his emotions.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to pitch again,” Clevinger said Wednesday, his voice cracking as he choked back tears. “So this is big.”

Clevinger had an impressive first start since having Tommy John surgery in 2020, and Manny Machado hit a two-run homer as the Padres edged the Cleveland Guardians 5-4 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Machado connected in the third inning off Zach Plesac (1-3), and Austin Nola delivered a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth as the Padres won for the sixth time in seven games – all on the road.

Steven Wilson (3-0) got the win despite walking two in the fifth, and Taylor Rodgers pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

Padres rookie MacKenzie Gore will start Game 2 against Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill.

It was a joyous return for Clevinger, who had surgery not long after pitching in Game 1 of the NLDS two years ago – just months after being traded from Cleveland to San Diego. Facing his former team and Plesac, one of his closest friends, the right-hander allowed three runs and four hits.

Clevinger was just an out away from potentially getting a win before being pulled after 95 pitches by manager Bob Melvin.

The win would have been a bonus, but that hardly mattered to Clevinger, who was thankful for the chance to compete again.

“It’s been a super long road and I can’t thank the people behind me enough,” said Clevinger, standing in the hallway outside San Diego’s clubhouse between games.

Clevinger, who spent four-plus seasons with Cleveland before being traded in 2020, was leading 3-1 when he walked Myles Straw with one out in the fifth. He put on Jose Ramirez with two down before being replaced by Wilson, who gave up a walk and Josh Naylor‘s tying two-run single.

Clevinger lobbied Melvin to let him finish the inning.

“I really appreciate Bob giving me a chance to go out and get it,” Clevinger said, “and was lobbying for it hard and I’m glad he let me try to go after Josey that one last time. I knew I was going to not let him beat me.

“I was going to try to make him swing outside the zone, and the hitter he is, I wasn’t going to let him go ahead and tie the game up there, so I did what I had to do to him and it just didn’t go in my favor.”

The Padres, though, came right back and scored two in the sixth on Nola’s double off Enyel De Los Santos and Jake Cronenworth‘s sacrifice fly.

Clevinger’s return was bumped back a day after Tuesday’s series opener was postponed by rain and a wet forecast.

The weather conditions were hardly San Diego-like when Clevinger, nicknamed “Sunshine,” finally took the mound as low-hanging clouds enwrapped Progressive Field during the early innings.

Machado’s fifth home run put Clevinger and the Padres up 3-0 in third.

An error by Naylor at first allowed Cronenworth to reach with one out before Machado, who batted .386 in April, drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center.


Dusty Baker’s 2,000th career win prompted a wide smile and praise from Guardians manager Terry Francona.

“I’m happy for Dusty,” said Francona, who entered the day with 1,792 wins. “I think it’s really cool when good things happen to good people – and he certainly qualifies on both accounts.”

Baker became the first Black manager to reach the milestone on Tuesday night when Houston Astros beat Seattle 4-0. He’s the 12th manager to reach 2,000, a mark that cements his eventual enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.


Padres: 1B Luke Voit (biceps tightness) went 0 for 2 with a walk, run and strikeout in the first game of a rehab assignment at Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday. Voit could be activated from the injured list when San Diego gets home.

Guardians: INF Yu Chang continues to recover in the minors after being placed on the COVID list last month. Chang’s rehab was transferred to Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday.


Padres: Return to San Diego for weekend series against Miami. Nick Martinez (1-2) starts Thursday’s opener against Marlins RHP Jesus Luzardo (2-1).

Guardians: Open a four-game home series against Toronto on Thursday with Aaron Civale (0-2) facing Blue Jays RHP Jose Berrios (2-0).

Stanton, Donaldson, Kahnle activated by Yankees ahead of Dodgers series

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle were activated by the New York Yankees ahead of their weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

New York cleared three roster spots after a 1-0 loss at Seattle, optioning infielder-outfielders Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with left-hander Matt Krook.

Stanton, Donaldson and Kahnle all played in a rehab game for Double-A Somerset. Stanton was hitless in three at-bats in his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring on April 15.

Donaldson went 1 for 4 in his fourth rehab game as he comes back from a strained right hamstring originally sustained on April 5.

Kahnle pitched one inning, giving up one run and one hit and walking two. He has been out since spring training with right biceps tendinitis.

Aaron Boone said he wasn’t concerned about Stanton returning after playing in just one rehab game. He did say that Stanton likely will be a designated hitter for a couple of weeks after rejoining the Yankees.

New York is missing centerfielder Harrison Bader, who strained his right hamstring against the Mariners and went on the injured list the next day.

Left-hander Carlos Rodón, sidelined since spring training by a sore left forearm and an ailing back, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.