Shields settles down after rough start in tuneup
PEORIA, Ariz. — James Shields gave up seven runs in the first inning Wednesday before settling down to throw three scoreless ones in his final start before Opening Day in the Kansas City Royals’ 9-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Shields gave up six hits, walked one and hit a batter as the Padres sent 11 to the plate in the first. Shields allowed only one hit after that and finished with a 4.74 spring ERA.
"They were just hitting groundballs that found some holes," Shields said. "I was trying to stay aggressive. Walking the first guy didn’t help. But other than the first inning, I thought it was a pretty good effort."
Shields will start Monday at Detroit as the Royals try to end a 28-year postseason drought, longest in the majors.
Padres starter Ian Kennedy gave up solo home runs to Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez on consecutive pitches in a two-inning stint that included three runs and six hits.
Perez left in the third after he was hit in the head by Johnny Barbato’s curveball. A team spokesman said he didn’t sustain a concussion.
"The one Perez hit was hit hard. The one Gordon hit was a flyball the wind got," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Pitch count (53) was a little high for two innings."
Robbie Erlin, a candidate to start for San Diego while Josh Johnson (forearm) is sidelined, allowed six hits and struck out six in five shutout innings.
Five times in the first inning, the Padres swung at Shields’ first pitch. it resulted in four hits and a sacrifice bunt.
"Last game of spring training, they’re swinging early," Shields said.
Perez was the batter who hit the liner into Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman’s face last week, causing a facial fracture that required surgery.
This time, the catcher was on the other end of a scary incident, being hit in the head with a pitch.
"I’m fine," Perez said through a team spokesman.
Reliever Louis Coleman, who has a 13.50 ERA this spring while pitching with a bruised right middle finger, will stay behind in Arizona and is expected to start the season on the disabled list.
Second baseman Omar Infante (elbow) went 2 for 5 and played five innings in the field in a minor-league game. Manager Ned Yost said Infante will DH in a minor-league game Thursday, and if that goes well he’ll rejoin the team in Milwaukee.
Both teams were leaving Arizona after the game for two final exhibitions.
The Padres return home to play the Indians on Friday and Saturday at the University of San Diego.
The Royals will face the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday.
"I’m excited about taking a good team in there," said Yost, a former Brewers player and manager.