Padres stay perfect in Musgrove's starts

May 22nd, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO -- Reflecting on yet another quality start by teammate , Manny Machado concluded with a simple message: “Pay that man.”

Musgrove continued his dominant start to the season, holding San Francisco scoreless over seven innings as the Padres defeated the Giants, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park.

The Padres (26-14) have won each of Musgrove’s first eight starts, the second-longest streak in club history. San Diego won Andy Hawkins’ first 12 starts in 1985.

Musgrove (5-0), who signed a one-year, $8.625 million contract in March to avoid arbitration, hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs and has pitched at least six innings in all of his starts.

“My main goal is just to get quality start after quality start,” said Musgrove, who allowed four hits and three walks on Saturday. “I feel like with the offense we have, and the defense behind us, if I can go six-plus with two or three [runs allowed] or less, we have a good chance of winning.”

The last Padres pitcher with eight consecutive quality starts to start the season was Dennis Rasmussen, who had 10 in 1991.

Musgrove noticed that the Giants (22-17) weren’t swinging at breaking balls Saturday, so he used those to get ahead early in the count and then finished off at-bats with fastballs.

He allowed doubles to Mike Yastrzemski, Joc Pederson and Tommy La Stella, but didn’t let any of them reach third base. He was aided by two stellar plays from shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, who turned a double play with two on in the sixth and got a forceout on a grounder up the middle in the seventh.

“The defense has really been great for me all year long,” Musgrove said. “Strikeouts haven’t been as high as they were last year, and I’m relying heavily on those guys, throwing more fastball and sinkers, trying to get quick outs and get deeper into games.”

On his 100th and final pitch, Musgrove got pinch-hitter Evan Longoria to ground out with two on and two outs in the seventh. He lowered his ERA to 1.90 and has a 0.94 WHIP.

The only other pitcher to start at least seven games and have his team win each one this season is Luis Severino of the Yankees.

“It seems like once he got to San Diego, which is home to him, he took it to another level,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Musgrove went 11-9 with a career-low 3.18 ERA last season, his first in San Diego after spending the first five years of his MLB career in Houston and Pittsburgh.

Musgrove said he appreciated Machado’s advice to management.

“It’s nice to hear that,” Musgrove said. “I would love to stick around and play with him for a long time.”

Before acting as Musgrove’s agent, Machado helped ensure that the pitcher’s winning streak continued. MLB’s OPS leader opened the scoring in the third inning by hitting a 98.7 mph fastball from Carlos Rodón 425 feet to center for his eighth homer of the year, and first since May 5.

The Padres added to the lead when Luke Voit led off the sixth with a double, moved to third on a single by Austin Nola and scored on a safety squeeze by Trent Grisham.

Wilmer Flores homered against Padres reliever Robert Suarez in the eighth, but Taylor Rogers worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to record his MLB-best 16th save as San Diego beat its division rival by one run for the second straight day.

“The more you come through and win games like this, the more you expect to win them,” Melvin said.

Jurickson Profar, who had two baseballs and a beer bottle thrown at him from the stands when he played in left field in the Padres’ 10-inning win Friday night, was the designated hitter on Saturday. He reached base in all five of his plate appearances, with two singles, two walks and an error by Darin Ruf at first base.