SAN DIEGO -- After he had thrown his 107th pitch of the game, a loud and long out to right field by Dexter Fowler, Padres starting pitcher James Shields returned to the home dugout where he gave manager Bud Black a rather blunt assessment of his night and, quite possibly, his season.
"He came after the seventh and said, 'If I quit giving up home runs, I'd be pretty good,'" Black said after the Padres rallied to top the Cubs, 4-3, at Petco Park on Tuesday.
Shields, the Major League leader in home runs allowed this season, surrendered two more -- solo shots to Chris Coghlan and Fowler in the third inning -- but little else. He's allowed 14 long balls -- but that's not a number he is preoccupied with.
Instead, it's this: Did the Padres win or not? Did he give his team a good chance to win?
The answer, on both parts, was a resounding 'yes,' as Shields allowed just those two runs in seven innings with 11 strikeouts in getting a no-decision.
"He pitched great," Black said. "His stuff was good. A nice mix of pitches, spotting the ball … good hook, good change, good little cutter/slider, fastball velocity was up tonight. Seven innings, two runs. We'll take it."
Shields, after his first nine starts with the Padres, is 5-0 with a 3.74 ERA. Seven of those outings have rated as quality starts -- six or more innings with three runs or fewer.
"I feel I had pretty good stuff out of the gate. I had a pretty good fastball," he said. "That's a win we needed right there. I needed to do my job to keep us in the game."
The 11 strikeouts on Tuesday gave Shields 75 for the season, one behind Corey Kluber of the Indians for the Major League lead.