SAN DIEGO -- Padres starter James Shields remained unbeaten Wednesday, improving to a league-best 7-0 with a 7-3 win over the Mets. No other undefeated starter in baseball has even four wins, let alone seven.
"I let the hitters dictate what I throw," Shields said. "I don't go too deep on relying on certain pitches. I feel like I can throw all four of my pitches any time in any count.''
Mets starter Dillon Gee, in his first outing back from a month-long stay on the disabled list, did not perform nearly as well, giving up seven runs in four-plus innings. Three defensive errors, including one from Gee himself, ensured that nearly half of the runs against him were unearned.
They all counted the same for the Padres and Shields, who retired 10 in a row from the second through fifth innings. By that point, he had a comfortable lead thanks to the Mets' defensive issues, Will Middlebrooks' three-RBI night and Will Venable's two-run single in the fourth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Seven-win James: Shields was at his best from the second through fifth innings, recording all four of his strikeouts within a stretch of 10 consecutive outs. But he didn't seem nearly that sharp early, walking his first batter of the evening and allowing a leadoff double in the second. One batter later, right fielder Matt Kemp nailed Darrell Ceciliani as he tried to reach third base on a routine fly ball, sparking Shields' run of 10 in a row. More >
First things first: The Padres jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning, but they had some help. Ruben Tejada botched Derek Norris' grounder for an error, which preceded a walk to Justin Upton and Kemp's single. Yonder Alonso got plunked to score Norris, and Middlebrooks' sacrifice fly scored Upton.
Where there's a Will: Middlebrooks broke the game open in the fifth inning when his one-out, two-run single gave the Padres a 7-0 cushion. Kemp had a key hit in the rally, his second of the night, as he starts to rebound from his slumber.
Tying run to the plate: Despite being down seven runs at one point, the Mets staged enough of a ninth-inning rally against Padres closer Craig Kimbrel to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Lucas Duda -- their most-feared power hitter. Duda grounded out to end things, leaving the bases loaded.
"Our bullpen did a tremendous job of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to bring the tying run to the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's a big task."
"If I say so, it's a headline. So I'm not going to say so just yet." --Collins on whether the Mets might skip Gee's next turn through the rotation to avoid giving Matt Harvey too much rest between starts
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In an 18-year career which will likely land him in the Hall of Fame, ex-Padre Trevor Hoffman saved 601 games and surrendered 100 home runs. On Wednesday, he allowed three blasts in two minutes. Hoffman was throwing batting practice to Wil Myers when the rehabbing center fielder took him deep on three straight pitches. More >
ONE DOWN, 12 TO GO
On a night when Gee became the first of 13 Mets to return to active duty after spending time on the DL, the Mets' collective performance around him underscored how many of the other dozen they still need. Tejada committed two errors at third base, an unnatural position for him, while the Mets struggled to hit with Opening Day starters David Wright, Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Cuddyer -- at one point this season, their second, fourth and sixth hitters -- all sidelined. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Matt Harvey looks to bust out of his funk -- and quiet talk of arm fatigue -- when he opens the Mets' four-game series in Phoenix on Thursday. Harvey owns an 8.25 ERA over his last two starts, though he has struck out 15 batters over that 12-inning span. He'll face D-backs right-hander Jeremy Hellickson in a 9:40 p.m. ET game at Chase Field, where he made his big league debut back in 2012.
Padres:Tyson Ross gets the nod on Friday against the Reds as he tries to break his four-start losing streak. Ross hasn't won since May 14 when he beat the Nationals. He will oppose Raisel Iglesias in a 7:10 p.m. ET game at Great American Ball Park.