Everyone that follows the San Diego Padres with any level of regularity knows that Andrew Cashner has the ability to flash a high-end repertoire on the mound. On Monday night, he showcased each and every bit of that arsenal in dominating the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cashner threw a complete game shutout in San Diego’s 2-0 road win in Pittsburgh, and he did so by allowing only 1 hit. In fact, Cashner flirted with a perfect game in a major way, as the 7th-inning single by Pittsburgh outfielder Jose Tabata was the lone blemish (Cashner didn’t issue any walks), and Tabata was quickly removed from the base paths with a double play.
The 27-year-old right-hander needed only 97 pitches to complete the shutout (giving him a “Maddux” with respect to Grantland’s Jonah Keri), and in the process, he struck out 7 members of the Pirates. It was a dominating performance from beginning to end, and the 2 runs provided by the San Diego offense (including one scored by Cashner himself) were more than enough to support his efforts.
This was, obviously, the best start of the year for Cashner, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Pirates. With the loss, Pittsburgh drops to 87-63 on the year, and while that is a blistering mark, they trail the St. Louis Cardinals by a half-game pending their results in Colorado this evening. Unfortunately for the “Bucs”, they ran into an absolute buzzsaw on this night, and there was virtually nothing they could do.
We may never see this level of excellence from Andrew Cashner again, but if it never happens, Padres fans can look back fondly on September 16th, 2013.