Mike Clevinger has commanded the most attention among pitchers throughout the majors for the past week, but it was Andrew Heaney who ruled the mound Thursday.
The Angels right-hander allowed only three hits over seven innings in Los Angeles' 2-0 victory over San Diego, spoiling Clevinger's debut with the Padres.
Heaney (3-2) struck out six and walked two while throwing a career-high 117 pitches. He stymied a San Diego lineup that entered the day leading the majors in runs scored and had won 12 of its last 15.
“They have a real good lineup but they have a lot of guys who haven’t faced me. You have to go at them and not beat you with multi-run swings,” Heaney said.
Mike Mayers and Felix Peña each worked a scoreless inning in handing the Padres their second shutout this season. It was Peña’s second career save and his first since 2016.
“We just weren’t able to muster much. And Heaney shortening it for their bullpen, we couldn’t square much up," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said.
Clevinger (1-2) was acquired in a multiplayer deal with Cleveland before Monday's trade deadline but was making only his second start since Aug. 6. He was banished to the Indians' alternate training site for 12 days after he broke COVID-19 protocols during a road trip.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
The 29-year-old long-haired right-hander — who is nicknamed “Sunshine” — wasn't sharp against the Angels, who drafted him in 2011 before trading him to the Indians three years later.
Clevinger came in with a 4-0 career mark against Los Angeles but allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings. He didn’t retire the Angels in order until the sixth and allowed the leadoff batter aboard in each of the first four innings.
Clevinger admitted that he felt nervous and compared it to his first postseason start in 2017.
“This is an exciting team and I wanted to show them I can be a contribution to it,” he said. “I had my heater and I had my location, that’s about all I had today. So it was a big grind. ... I was just rushing, getting a little ahead of myself and I think that’s when the arm lagged."
Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton each had two hits and an RBI for the Angels, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Jared Walsh's double led off the third before he scored on a one-out single by Simmons.
Los Angeles added to its lead in the fourth on Upton's RBI single. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a triple after Wil Myers was unable to make a diving catch in right field.
“He looked fine. I know we got the win, which is good for us,” said Simmons about Clevinger’s outing. “He has good stuff and is a competitor. He went pretty deep even though he was trailing. I think he will serve the Padres well down the road.”
STRETCHING IT OUT
Heaney's 117 pitches were the most thrown by an Angels hurler since Ricky Nolasco threw 119 against Cleveland in 2017. Heaney's previous career high was 116 in a complete-game victory over Kansas City two years ago.
It is the second straight outing where he has gone at least seven innings.
“He’s learning how to use his fastball more. That makes the other pitches become better,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Don’t pay attention to the radar gun it is deceptive. He froze a lot of hitters with the fastball tonight.”
Heaney said he wasn't surprised to go out for the seventh, but figured that was going to be his last inning.
“I talked with (pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway) after the sixth. I told him I am about quarter tank left, wich with about 100 pitches in that is good to be at,” Heaney said.
The Angels could have had more runs in the third, but San Diego left fielder Jurickson Profar was able to cleanly field Simmons' single on the bounce and fired a throw to third to get Jo Adell for the second out.
Padres: Myers came off the injured list after a one-day stint. San Diego has been cautious with players who have shown even the slightest of COVID-19 symptoms.
Angels: IF David Fletcher was placed on the injured list retroactive to Monday after spraining his left ankle during Sunday's loss to Seattle.
Padres: RHP Zach Davies (5-2, 2.61 ERA) has won his last three starts as San Diego opens a three-game series at Oakland.
Angels: RHP Dylan Bundy (4-2, 2.47 ERA) is fourth in the AL in ERA as Los Angeles begins a four-game set against Houston. Bundy has allowed one run or fewer in four of his seven starts.