Shields was a warrior on the rubber and at the plate Sunday afternoon, quickly recovering from his mistakes to keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard.
Shields got some help from his defense in the third inning. After a double by Alberto Callaspo, Joc Pederson came to the plate and smacked a line drive to right field. Matt Kemp collected the ball and threw a laser to easily eliminate Callaspo at home.
Opposing pitcher Mike Bolsinger was equally impressive on the mound Sunday, but ran into some trouble in the 5th inning. With two outs, James Shields singled to right field to extend the inning. Shields helped himself by going from 1st to 3rd after a single to Yasiel Puig by Will Venable.
The two out rally continued with a walk by Yangervis Solarte. Some questionable strikezone calls upset the dugout and Padre fans at Petco Park. So much, that beloved pitching coach Mark Kotsay was immediately tossed for arguing balls and strikes.
Slugger Justin Upton came to the plate with the bases juiced, and put the Padres up 2-0 with a sharp single to center field.
James Shields responded to the lead with a strong 1,2,3 inning against the top of the Dodger lineup. The strikeouts continued until he was tagged by Padre killer Andre Ethier for a solo shot into the Petco Porch.
Joaquin Benoit came in to relieve Shields in the 8th. After a 2 out walk, Adiran Gonzalez doubled to bring home Yasiel Puig and tie the game at 2. I realize Benoit is a highly regarded and paid pitcher, but the pace at which this guy pitches is painful. The 8th inning seems to take twice as long as the others and has lately been ending with a blown lead. I think it’s time to let Brandon Maurer takeover 8th inning duties.
Joc Pederson was full of stellar defensive plays in Center Field Sunday. None were more important or impressive than his catch in the bottom of the 9th to rob Justin Upton. He tracked down a drive over his head that looked to be the winning hit, and held on right before slamming into the wall.
Momentum swinging their way after the catch, the Dodgers pulled away from the Padres. Dale Thayer came into the game in the 11th, but had some issues with his location. Eventually Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate with the bases loaded. Gonzalez blew the game open in the bottom of the 11th by smacking a single to center field.
The Dodgers held on in the bottom of the frame to secure the 4-2 lead and another series win against the Padres.