Without sharpest stuff, Shields aids winning effort

Padres ace allows four runs (three earned), strikes out nine over six frames

Without sharpest stuff, Shields aids winning effort

CHICAGO -- There were a few lamentable moments for Padres pitcher James Shields to sort through in his first start at Wrigley Field on Friday.

"I didn't have the greatest stuff today. I wasn't locating as well as I wanted to; I was behind in the count all day," Shields said.

And, to top it all off, there was this:

"I wish the ivy was green," Shields said, smiling.

Despite not having his best stuff, Shields was able to smile after the Padres rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Cubs, as Wil Myers' three-run home run in the seventh inning not only made a winner of Shields (2-0) but started the team's seven-game road trip on a strong note.

Shields, in his third start with the Padres, allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings. He walked two, struck out nine, had a throwing error that led to a run and also a wild pitch that allowed a run to score.

"It's one of those days where you grind through it," Shields said.

Shields allowed four consecutive one-out hits in the fifth inning as the Cubs scored twice. But he avoided a bigger mess when he struck out rookie Kris Bryant -- recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Iowa -- for the third time and Chris Coghlan with two runners on base.

"He hung in there," Padres manager Bud Black said. "... He was his own worst enemy with the two runs they scored, and then he buckled down. He had to make some pitches at the end to keep them at bay. That inning could have gotten out of hand there."

Shields, who in February signed the biggest contract (four years, $75 million) in club history, has a 2.84 ERA in his first three starts, with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings. He's been steady, he's missed bats and he has set the tone for a starting rotation that has a 2.62 ERA through 11 games.

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.