SAN DIEGO (AP) — Cal Quantrill of the Cleveland Guardians claimed it was no big deal facing his former team, the San Diego Padres.
Reminded how demonstrative he was after getting out of two big jams, he laughed and told the truth.
“Apparently I really did care a lot. It just felt important,” Quantill said after shutting down the Padres through seven brilliant innings in a 7-0 win Wednesday.
All-Star José Ramírez homered in consecutive at-bats and rookie Oscar Gonzalez connected again for the AL Central-leading Guardians, who knocked out Blake Snell in a five-run fourth.
Quantrill (10-5) was pitching at Petco Park for the first time since he was acquired by Cleveland in the nine-player trade that sent Mike Clevinger to San Diego at the deadline in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The right-hander, taken by the Padres with the eighth pick overall in the 2016 draft, held San Diego scoreless while allowing just five hits and extricating himself from the two trouble spots he got into. He struck out six and walked one.
Quantrill allowed singles to Josh Bell and Kim Ha-seong opening the fifth, and then retired the next three batters, pumping his fist as he walked off the mound. The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before Quantrill struck out Jorge Alfaro. He was more demonstrative that time, pumping his fist, practically going down on one knee, and then pumping his fist twice more.
That was his last pitch. Bryan Shaw took over starting the eighth.
“I wanted that game to be clean,” Quantrill said. “I didn't want to trail off. Finishing an inning is important as a starter. Giving Shaw, in this instance, the best chance to succeed, and that's not with the bases loaded and two out, that's with a fresh inning. That's important.”
The Guardians swept the two-game set and won the season series 3-1.
The Padres scored only nine runs against Washington and Cleveland, one shy of the club record for the fewest in a six-game homestand. They scored only eight runs during the first homestand of their existence: April 8-13, 1969.
Fighting to hold onto the NL's third wild-card spot, the Padres were booed by what remained of a crowd of 30,409.
The Guardians have won each of Quantrill's last nine starts and he's won six straight decisions. He hasn't lost since July 5 at Detroit.
Quantrill said there are number of reasons for his success, including “really attempting to establish that we're on top and you're going to have to fight your way back. I think that brand of baseball works well for us. I know we've celebrated a lot of late-inning wins but I think that we have a good pitching staff and have ultimate faith in our bullpen to get ahead early, hold it, win it.
“There are two to three different ways to get a guy out, so we're not just trying to do the same thing three times through the order and I'm pitching with a lead a lot lately,” the former Stanford pitcher said. “I feel like I've been getting 10 runs a game. Lot of credit to the boys. They're playing great defense and putting up a lot of runs when I pitch.”
Snell (5-7) was a strike away from getting out of the first inning when Ramirez homered to left-center on an 0-2 pitch.
Ramirez homered again leading off the five-run fourth, his 25th. It was his third multi-homer game of the season and 20th of his career. Gonzalez followed with a shot to left, the third time the Guardians have hit back-to-back homers this season. Gonzalez also homered in a 3-1 win Tuesday night.
"He's a menace,” Quantrill said about Ramirez. “He's such an issue to deal with. There's no clear scouting report on him. I don't know if this is how pitchers feel, but for me, so much focus is going into getting a guy like that out, that inevitably the people around him start to actually get better and better pitches. He's just such a threat.”
Luke Maile hit a one-out RBI single and Myles Straw singled to load the bases and chase Snell. Steven Kwan greeted Steven Wilson with a two-run single. The Padres finally got out of it when Amed Rosario flied out to right and Wil Myers threw out Straw trying to score.
Ramirez got his third RBI on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Snell allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked none.
The Padres were without RF Juan Soto a second straight day due to left mid-back tightness.
Guardians RHP Triston McKenzie (9-9, 3.11 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday in the opener of a four-game series at Seattle. The Mariners will counter with LHP Marco Gonzales (8-12, 4.08).
Padres: RHP Joe Musgrove (8-6, 2.91) is scheduled to start Friday night's series opener at Kansas City. The Royals will go with LHP Kris Bubic (2-8, 5.29).
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