By Jeff Sanders
The San Diego Union-Tribune
A false positive COVID-19 test stopped the Padres for two days. The Giants could not slow the Padres at all.
Winners of five straight when they arrived in San Diego, the Giants lost all three games played in San Diego to fall 7½ games behind the red-hot Padres in the race for second place in the NL West.
The Padres, meantime, are sitting on their second seven-game winning streak during this 60-game season, have already secured their first winning season in a decade and are closing in on their first playoff berth since 2006.
The scores Thursday: Padres 6, Giants 1 (Padres drop Giants after Chris Paddack leaves with sprained ankle)Sunday: Padres 6, Giants 0; Padres 3, Giants 1 (Padres secure first winning record since 2010 with sweep of Giants) Player of the series Mike Clevinger
This was what the Padres traded for. In his best start yet for his new team, the 29-year-old right-hander struck out seven, walked one and allowed two hits in a seven-inning complete game, the Padres’ first shutout in more than three years.
The setting made it all that more impressive.
The Padres had been idle for two days while MLB sorted out Alex Dickerson’s false positive COVID-19 test. Veteran Johnny Cueto had kept Padres hitters off-balance to start the game. And Clevinger was throwing nothing but zeros, an about-face to the rocky starts to his first Padres outings.
In the end, it was rather easy to envision Clevinger doing the same in Game 1 in the opening round of the playoffs as his teammates settle in.
Pivotal moment: Cueto had retired the first four hitters with ease Sunday when Austin Nola singled. Then Jake Cronenworth’s two-out double put runners at second and third for Greg Garcia, who was making just his 12th start of the season, this time as a designated hitter.
It didn’t look like it. It rarely does with Garcia.
The left-handed-hitting Garcia took a strike and then stroked a 93 mph four-seamer the opposite way for a two-run single to give the Padres their first lead of the doubleheader.
Sure, they trailed in Game 2 until Wil Myers’ game-tying homer but there was a hardly a doubt the Padres would come back in the nightcap, after Garcia got the Padres started in the opener.