SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cuban defector Odrisamer Despaigne made fired San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes look good in his sterling major league debut.
Despaigne became the fourth Padres pitcher to throw seven scoreless innings in his first big league start, leading San Diego to a 6-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
"He pitched great didn't he?" Padres manager Bud Black asked. "Are you kidding me? That was great."
Tommy Medica hit a two-run double off Matt Cain (1-6) after the umpires took away a three-run home run by Yasmani Grandal on a replay review to give the crafty Despaigne (1-0) the support he needed.
Despaigne, who defected from Cuba last summer, got the win less than two months after Byrnes signed him to a minor league deal. Byrnes was fired Sunday so he didn't get the chance to benefit from the decision.
Despaigne had a 6.03 ERA in seven minor league starts in his first season as a professional after defecting from Cuba last summer.
"It took me for surprise to be here," he said through an interpreter. "It was a dream come true."
Despaigne kept the Giants off-balance all game by changing his arm angle and mixing in big, slow curveballs with his harder pitches. He allowed four hits and became the seventh pitcher in the past 100 years to throw at least seven scoreless innings with no walks in his first career start.
Despaigne had the element of surprise in his favor as the Giants had not even seen him pitch in spring training.
"At this point in the year you've kind of seen everything but he was just on," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He was locating, he had the ball moving a lot of different directions. He threw me pretty much everything. He didn't really leave too much over the plate. I think he just mixed it up the whole game."
The Giants lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
Neither team had a hit in the first three innings before the Padres got to Cain in the fourth. The rally started when Everth Cabrera reached on a one-out infield single and advanced to third on Seth Smith's single.