AP NEWS

Back-to-back blasts sink Clemens in loss

September 7, 2016 GMT

Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley had barely made it back to the dugout when Paul Clemens fired a 2-1 fastball toward home plate. Catcher Derek Norris had set up away, knee-high. The pitch arrived down the middle and slightly above belt level. Jackie Bradley Jr. turned on it and sent a two-run drive into the right-field seats.

Bradley had barely made it through the high-five line in the visiting dugout when Clemens flung a 1-0 heater toward the plate. Once again, a target on the outer half was missed. Once again, Clemens paid for it, as Chris Young reached down in the zone to yank a wall-scraper to left.

The back-to-back home runs followed a brief mound visit from Balsley and interrupted had been a relatively tranquil outing for Clemens. The Padres went on to lose, 5-1, to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.

Clemens has not collected more than 16 outs in any of his 10 starts this season. Eight of those starts have come with the Padres, whose opening-day rotation has turned over entirely. The right-hander has shown a big curveball and stretches of effective pitching, but he has not been effective enough to stay on the mound for long.

After lasting only three innings in his previous start, Clemens went just four on Tuesday. Bradley broke a scoreless tie in the fourth. Clemens went out for the fifth but was pulled after surrendering back-to-back singles.

He finished with nine hits and three walks allowed. The Red Sox scored five runs off him.

In eight starts for San Diego, Clemens has pitched a total of 36 innings. He’s recorded 29 strikeouts and given up 23 earned runs.

While on the mound Tuesday, he received scant support. The Padres’ run production consisted of a solo shot by Ryan Schimpf in the bottom of the fourth. It was the rookie second baseman’s 17th home run of the season.

The Padres had runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh, but their next three batters all struck out swinging.