SAN DIEGO: In a 14-year career that’s taken him through 11 big-league stops, Edwin Jackson has made quite a few friends along the way.
The 32-year-old journeyman endeared himself to a new team Sunday even if he left his new hometown yearning in agony after pinch-hitter Connor Gillaspie’s three-run homer ended an unlikely no-hit bid with one out in the seventh inning Sunday in a 5-3 win over the Giants in front of 35,784 at Petco Park.
Already with one no-hitter on his resume, Jackson struck out Brandon Crawford to open the seventh, then bobbled Gregor Blanco’s tapper in front of the mound, walked Ramiro Pena and fell behind Gillaspie ahead of laying a 3-1 change-up over the heart of the plate.
Gillaspie didn’t miss.
His three-run homer to right ensured the Padres would play at least one more game as the only franchise without a no-hitter.
The streak is now 7,582 games strong.
Jackson, nevertheless, left to standing ovation after Gillaspie’s homer. He allowed three runs – two earned – on one hit and five walks. He struck out four and hit 97 mph on the gun in his Padres debut just weeks after the Marlins released him.
He missed a second career no-hitter but won because Matt Kemp and Christian Bethancourt homers helped knock Johnny Cueto out of the game early and Yangervis Solarte added a solo shot off the Giants’ bullpen immediately after Jackson’s seventh-inning hiccup.
Brandon Maurer saved his third game with a scoreless ninth to secure a sweep of a Giants team that won the first nine meetings of the season.
Of course, there have been a number of close calls for Padres no-hitters, 20 of which saw the Padres take no-hitters into the ninth inning only to come up empty.
Most recently, the Padres were an out away from a no-no on July 9, 2011 at Dodger Stadium when reliever Luke Gregerson – the fifth pitcher in the game – allowed a two-out double in the ninth inning of a tie game.
Earlier this season, rookie right-hander Colin Rea took a no-hitter into the seventh inning only to lose it on a shift-beating single from Yoenis Cespedes with two outs.
Jackson completed a no-hitter on June 25, 2010, for the Diamondbacks despite similar control issues. He walked eight and struck out six in that game.
Released last month by the Marlins after posting a 5.91 ERA over eight relief appearances, Jackson posted a 7.11 ERA through three starts at Triple-A El Paso before the Pomeranz trade opened up a spot in the rotation.
He was in his first start in the majors this season because the Padres solved Cueto for the first time this season.
Looking to complete his fourth game against the Padres, Cueto yielded homers to Kemp and Bethancourt in the fourth inning and was lifted in the sixth after allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Jackson drove in the last run charged to Cueto with a single off Giants right-hander George Kontos, Jackson’s second hit of the game.