Shields labors in last spring start, Venable lifts Padres over Rox

San Diego starter allows 3 earned runs on 6 hits

Shields labors in last spring start, Venable lifts Padres over Rox

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Will Venable's opposite-field, two-run double in the eighth inning Friday lifted the Padres to a 7-5 victory over the Rockies in a Cactus League Game at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Before Venable's hit, projected Opening Day starters Kyle Kendrick and James Shields labored.

Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu led the charge for the Rockies, who took a 5-2 lead with a three-run fifth.

LeMahieu and Blackmon had two hits apiece, and Kendrick allowed three earned runs in 4 ⅓ innings. He threw 80 pitches on the night, 50 of them strikes.

Shields also lasted 4 ⅓ frames, allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits. Matt Kemp had three hits and teammate Yonder Alonso reached base three times for the Padres (11-11-1).

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Flying shrapnel:
Dangerous job, pitching. Ask Shields, who had to dodge flying pieces of Carlos Gonzalez's splintered bat in the first inning. Shields avoided the bat, twirling out of the way. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko fielded the ground ball, throwing to first base for the out.

Turning it over: For the second time this spring, the Rockies opted to put their starting pitcher in the eighth spot in the order, dropping LeMahieu to ninth. Manager Walt Weiss says it's something he'll probably experiment with during the regular season as well.

Weiss' goal is to make sure he's getting as many at-bats as he can for his big hitters. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez batted second and third, respectively.

"There's going to be times when the pitcher comes up in an RBI situation, and you're going to go, 'Wow, it'd be nice to have a position player hitting right now,'" Weiss said. "I understand that. It's just trying to get our middle-of-the-order guys to the plate a spot sooner, while still having a couple guys in front of them hitting."

Tulo crosses the plate

No. 2 looks like No. 1: After a slow start this spring, Alonso sure is picking a good time -- the last week of camp -- to get hot with the bat. Better still, it's looking like he has a nice handle on the No. 2 spot in the order. With hits in his first two at-bats Friday, he had hits in five consecutive at-bats going back to Thursday.

Alonso crosses the dish

CarGo ailing: With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, San Diego's Will Middlebrooks lofted a lazy fly ball to right field, where Gonzalez made the catch and fired a perfect strike to the plate. On the play, Gonzalez evidently felt some soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. He was removed from the game an inning later as a precaution, and he'll be re-evaluated Saturday.

CarGo's RBI groundout

Things got worse for the Rockies on that play. Catcher Nick Hundley tried to nab Kemp, who had strayed off of second. But his throw hit Kemp in the back and trickled into center field, allowing Alonso to score.

QUOTABLE
"Today was not a very good game overall, to be honest with you. I've got some work to do. We'll clean it up before the season starts." -- Shields after the game.

"It's good to get a look at one of their starters. We saw him a couple times last year, and he's a good pitcher. He adds to the strength of the division, as far as the pitching goes. He's another good pitcher thrown into the mix. We'll see him a bunch, and we're looking forward to it." -Rockies manager Walt Weiss on James Shields

Shields whiffs Gonzalez

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Derek Norris said his first priority is to learn and get the Padres' pitchers in a position where they are comfortable with him. He's the starting catcher, that's his job. But he also has to hit, though he's scuffled in that area until the last three games. After starting the spring 3-for-32, he had five hits in his next seven at-bats. His issue was timing with his load, getting his front foot down. He's found something.

"It's been a lot better the last few days," he said.

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Justin Morneau (sore right elbow), Daniel Descalso (strained right oblique) and Charlie Culberson (back) are expected to return to the lineup when the Rockies head to Mesa to face the Cubs at 2:05 p.m. MT. Jon Gray gets the start, followed by righty relievers John Axford, Rafael Betancourt and Scott Oberg and lefty Rex Brothers.

Padres: Tyson Ross gets the start Saturday as the Padres visit the Rangers in Surprise at 1:05 p.m. It will be the fifth start of the spring for Ross, who could throw around 80 pitches or so, as he did the last time out on March 23 against the White Sox, when he allowed one hit over five scoreless innings.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.