SAN DIEGO -- In his first game back from a knee injury, Rene Rivera was big trouble for his old team.
Rivera hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning after a long stay on the disabled list, and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
Reinstated from the 60-day DL before the game, Rivera connected for a solo shot into the second deck in left field against San Diego closer Kirby Yates (4-1). The former Padres catcher had missed 76 games with right knee inflammation.
"It's awesome to come back after three months and help the team to win a game," Rivera said. "First, I'm glad to be back and have an opportunity to play, and winning the game today is great."
Yates, who took over as closer when Brad Hand was traded to Cleveland, had allowed only two earned runs in 21 innings pitched at Petco Park this season.
"I just threw a good pitch, and he hit it," Yates said. "Just come back tomorrow and get back at it."
After the Angels sent starting catcher Martin Maldonado to Houston at the July 31 trade deadline, Rivera will have an opportunity to contribute more.
"We just brought him back and knew he had to get his timing down," manager Mike Scioscia said. "To jump right in like that, that's a huge home run obviously."
Jose Alvarez (5-3) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win for the Angels, their seventh in nine games. The sweep was Los Angeles' sixth of the season.
Blake Parker retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save.
Cory Spangenberg erased an Angels lead in the seventh with a solo home run that tied the game at 2.
Felix Pena pitched six solid innings for the Angels, allowing one unearned run on two hits while walking four and striking out seven.
"I think Felix did a great job," Scioscia said. "He kept getting better as the game went on. The only fly in the ointment is four walks, but he stepped up."
Erlin and Pena traded scoreless innings until the sixth, when Simmons broke through for Los Angeles.
"He pitched great," Rivera said of Pena. "He kept the ball down and elevated when he wanted to elevate. He was keeping the hitters off balance and did a good job today."
Shohei Ohtani pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out swinging against Yates.
Angels: Ohtani threw at full strength in his second bullpen session since injuring his right elbow in June. The two-way rookie star from Japan said his arm felt good and he was able to throw all his pitches. "I did throw 100 percent effort, but obviously it is going to be different from a game situation," Ohtani said through a translator. "I can't say for sure until I see how my body feels tomorrow."
The Angels optioned RHP Odrisamer Despaigne and C Jose Briceno to Triple-A Salt Lake, and designated RHP Akeel Morris for assignment.
Angels: Open a four-game series in Texas on Thursday. The club had not yet announced a starting pitcher. RHP Ariel Jurado (2-2, 5.66 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers.
Padres: RHP Jacob Nix (1-0) makes his second start in the majors Thursday against Arizona, looking to follow up a debut in which he threw six scoreless innings. RHP Clay Buchholz (5-2, 2.67) goes for the Diamondbacks.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Chris Sale sees room for improvement for Red Sox in '19: For him not to miss time due to injury
Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale wants to make 30-plus starts and pitch 200-plus innings, like he'd done in four of his previous five seasons.
Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer and Alex Wood win arbitration cases
Gerrit Cole (Astros), Trevor Bauer (Indians) and Alex Wood (Reds) all won their arbitration cases Wednesday, giving players a 6-3 lead in decisions this year.
Yankees' Luis Severino changes diet after late-season fatigue
After experiencing late-season fatigue in each of the last two seasons, Yankees pitcher Luis Severino has changed his diet, is drinking more water and is getting more exercise.
Cubs closer Brandon Morrow to miss beginning of season
The Chicago Cubs will be without closer Brandon Morrow for the early portion of 2019 after he had elbow surgery.
Teixeira: Analytics hurting Harper, Machado's deals
Mark Teixeira joins Golic & Wingo to say owners are using analytics to keep Bryce Harper and Manny Machado's contract offers low -- but Mike Trout is the exception.
Improved pitching a key for Yankees in 2019
Pedro Gomez reviews a key offseason for the Yankees as they try to catch up with the rival Red Sox.