SAN DIEGO: The San Diego Padres might have suffered a blow to the front of their playoff rotation when right-hander Mike Clevinger was suddenly pulled after only one inning in his start Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Padres, who’ve clinched a playoff berth for the first time in 14 seasons, said Clevinger’s departure wasn’t planned but offered no other details.
Clevingers start had been pushed back from Saturday night because of tightness in his right biceps. Manager Jayce Tingler said on Tuesday that Clevinger threw a bullpen session on Monday and seemed good to go for Wednesday afternoons start.
A few days earlier, Tingler held out hope that Clevinger might even be able to make two more starts before the regular season ended, even if the second one was brief.
While Clevinger had been the presumed Game 1 starter in the wild-card round starting next Wednesday, that role could now go to Dinelson Lamet.
Clevinger, obtained in a blockbuster trade with Cleveland on Aug. 31, breezed through a perfect first inning on 12 pitches, including striking out Mike Trout and David Fletcher.
But rookie Adrian Morejon began warming up in the bullpen while the Padres batted in the bottom of the inning and came out to start the second. Morejon (2-2) allowed a tying, two-run homer to Shohei Ohtani and solo shots to Justin Upton and Anthony Bemboom that gave the Angels a 4-2 lead.
The Padres earned their first playoff berth since 2006 with an 11-inning victory against Seattle on Sunday. They’re 0-2 since then, getting swept by the Angels, and their magic number remains at two for clinching homefield advantage as the NL’s No. 4 seed in the wild-card round next week.
The Angels entered the day mathematically in the race for the second wild card and for second place in the AL West.
Ohtani’s seventh homer went an estimated 430 feet into what’s ordinarily a beer deck. Anthony Rendon was aboard on a leadoff walk. Upton then drove a solo shot into the second deck in left, his eighth. Bemboom hit a one-out homer to right, his third.
Angels starter Jaime Barria went just two innings. He allowed Eric Hosmer’s two-out, two-run, opposite-field homer off the second balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner in the first. It was Hosmer’s ninth.
Parick Sandoval (1-4) went three innings against the lethargic Padres for the win. Felix Pea got the final three outs for his second save, with Trout making a nice diving catch of Mitch Moreland’s fly ball to end it.
Angels third base coach Brian Butterfield was ejected for saying something to umpires during a video review in the sixth. The Angels challenged an out call on a diving catch by left fielder Tommy Pham, which was overturned and ruled an RBI single for Fletcher that made it 5-2.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (4-3, 4.02 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of the final series of the regular season at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Padres: Dinelson Lamet (3-1, 2.07) and Chris Paddack (4-4, 4.23) are scheduled to start in a doubleheader at San Francisco on Friday. The Padres will be the home team in the second game, which is a makeup of a postponement in San Diego on Sept. 12 after Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson received a false positive COVID-19 test.
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