By Bill Center, The Sports Xchange
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Padres manager Andy Green has known right-hander Trevor Cahill since his days as a coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But Green had never seen Cahill’s pitches any sharper than they were Monday night against the Texas Rangers.
“That’s the stuff of shutout fashion, no-hit fashion, his stuff was that good,” Green said after Cahill allowed only one hit over 5 1/3 shutout innings to help the Padres defeat Texas 5-1 in the opener of a four-game, home-and-home set against the Rangers at Petco Park.
“Cahill at the beginning of that game was about as sharp as I’ve seen him,” continued Green. “His stuff was that good. As the game went on, he never lost his stuff, just his pinpoint command.”
Cahill had plenty of support Monday night.
Ryan Schimpf, Austin Hedges and Cory Spangenberg all hit solo homers while Cahill and relievers Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer combined on a two-hitter while striking out 13 Rangers.
The Texas run came on a solo homer by Shin-Soo Choo off Hand in the seventh when the Padres were leading 4-1. Spangenberg countered with his first homer of the season in the bottom of the inning.
“I was a little wild, but other than that I felt good,” said Cahill, who issued five walks and hit a batter while striking out seven — leading to his 101-pitch count after 5 1/3 innings.
“Cahill was very similar to what we’ve seen before,” said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. “Just showing fastballs out of the zone and getting us out on strikes in the zone. He kept us off the barrel. There was really not much offense tonight. We didn’t get the ball out of the infield until the 14th hitter.”
The Padres’ win in their first interleague game of the season snapped a four-game losing streak. The Rangers have lost three in a row and are 2-5 with a game to go on their road trip before returning home to host the Padres Wednesday.
“Everyone is tired of losing, especially when we are better than we are,” Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said after the Rangers fell to 13-20. “Everyone from our bullpen to our hitters to our starters are better, so yeah, we’re frustrated.”
“The only positive really is that we’re all kind of struggling at once, so maybe we will all get hot at once and have some fun.”
Schimpf and Hedges each had two hits and scored two runs. Hedges also had a second RBI against right-handed Rangers starter Nick Martinez (0-2).
Before they homered off Martinez, Schimpf and Hedges played key roles in the Padres’ two-run second that opened the scoring.
Schimpf led off the inning with a double to right-center, moved to third on Hunter Renfroe’s topper in front of the plate and scored on Hedges’ single off the glove of Rangers’ drawn-in second baseman Rougned Odor.
After Erick Aybar flew out, Cahill kept the inning alive with a single that moved Hedges to second. The catcher scored on a head-first slide on Manuel Margot’s single to right.
Schimpf’s ninth homer of the season came with two outs in the third. The 377-foot drive into the right-field stands was the third baseman’s sixth in the last 11 games. Hedges led off the fourth with his seventh homer of the season, a 412-foot drive to center.
The only hit off Cahill was a sinking line drive to left by Carlos Gomez that fell in front of Spangenberg, who is a third baseman playing left in the absence of injured outfielders Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson. Gomez’s single was the first ball the Rangers hit out of the infield.
With one out in the fifth, Cahill walked Elvis Andrus, then hit Carlos Gomez with a pitch. He departed in favor of left-handed reliever Hand, who struck out Joey Gallo and Lucroy to get out of the inning.
Martinez allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in six innings.