Shields: Miscommunication caused balk

In tie game, Padres righty thought he, Solarte were on same page to pick off Votto at third

Shields: Miscommunication caused balk

SAN DIEGO -- James Shields had a tough start to his outing, balking in the go-ahead run in the third inning as the Padres missed their chance to sweep the Reds, taking a 7-3 loss Wednesday at Petco Park.

Shields lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and five runs, while walking four and striking out seven.

The first inning was rough for Shields, as Billy Hamilton hit a single to start the game, then Shields hit Eugenio Suarez.

"His first inning wasn't his best inning," San Diego interim manager Pat Murphy said. "The first ball wasn't hit hard, the hit-by-pitch is probably the thing he is most disappointed about -- the non-hard contact single and then hit by the pitch, anything can happen."

With two on, Joey Votto hit an RBI single to right field to give the Reds their first run. Shields was able to strike out Todd Frazier before Jay Bruce drove a two-run triple to center field.

Shields' seven strikeouts

"The first hit was a bloop single to left. I gave up a couple of hits and made a mistake to Bruce," Shields said. "Other than that, I have to do my job and go as deep as I can in the game and try to keep the team in the game, and unfortunately it didn't work out."

The third would also be costly to Shields, with Bruce batting and runners on second and third with one out. Shields faked a pickoff throw to third base, which resulted in a balk, scoring Votto to make it 4-3, Reds. That ruling that pitchers can no longer fake a pickoff throw to third base changed before the 2013 season.

"The balk was a miscommunication, a player-to-player miscommunication," Murphy said. "He thought [third baseman Yangervis Solarte] had it, had the sign, obviously that didn't happen."

Shields concurred that it was a miscommunication between he and Solarte.

"I feel like we had him. Votto wasn't even paying attention over there," Shields said. "I feel like in that situation, we have him and now we have two outs and next thing you know, I strike Byrd out. Miscommunication. I'm just disappointed that that's the way they scored that run."

After the shaky start, Shields was able to find a groove, reting the next 10 batters he faced. Murphy said that once Shields settled in, he thought he pitched great. But for Shields, the mistakes still stung after the game.

"The way the game is played, you give up a bunch of hits and that's just the way the game is played, and that happens," Shields said. "Errors happen, but mental mistakes, that just can't happen. We've got to clean that up. Those are things that we can control on our side and we definitely have to clean that up."

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.