DENVER -- James Shields got 14 outs on ground balls, always an advisable way to pitch at Coors Field, and he worked seven innings. But Shields was disappointed in his outing Sunday, because he gave up three home runs in the Padres' 6-3 loss to the Rockies."Today my job was
DENVER -- James Shields got 14 outs on ground balls, always an advisable way to pitch at Coors Field, and he worked seven innings. But Shields was disappointed in his outing Sunday, because he gave up three home runs in the Padres' 6-3 loss to the Rockies.
"Today my job was to go as deep as I possibly can and save our bullpen a little bit," Shields said. "I was happy with that. Obviously, I made two bad pitches in the first inning."
The Rockies hit five solo homers, three off Shields. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado in the first. While Gonzalez hit a cutter that caught too much of the plate, Arenado hit a low changeup.
"He went down and got it, but he's a good hitter," Shields said.
Shields also gave up a pinch-hit homer to Ryan Raburn in the seventh that gave the Rockies a 4-2 lead. Colorado completed its slugging barrage in the eighth when Trevor Story and Gonzalez opened the inning with back-to-back jacks against Brandon Maurer. Story's homer was his seventh in his first six career games, a Major League record.
"It's as good a middle of the order as anybody has in baseball," manager Andy Green said. "I don't think anybody's going to argue that. Those guys can flat-out hit. We navigated them fairly well through the series, but they kind of bit us today."
Shields was particularly peeved about the first-inning homers by Gonzalez and Arenado.
"There's two outs," Shields said. "Can't give up two home runs right there. This is a frustrating game sometimes, but you move on. I'm a competitor."
Despite the homers, Shields kept the Padres in the game as they tried with minimal success to mount some offense against Rockies starter Chad Bettis, who became the first Colorado starter to pitch seven innings this season. The Padres were seeking their third sweep of three or more games at Coors Field, and first since September 2011. They fell short of that achievement but left here in much better shape than when they arrived.
San Diego was shut out in three losses at home to start the season and extended its Major League record for scoreless innings to start a season to 30, but the club erupted for six runs in the fourth on Friday night on their way to a 13-6 win. On Saturday, the Padres blasted the Rockies, 16-3. While a sweep would have been particularly sweet, there was solace in winning the series.
"I think any time you win a series, it's a good thing," Green said. "Obviously right after the game, you're thinking about what you could have done differently to win a ballgame today. But I feel good about what we did here in Denver. That kind of turned our season around from the very beginning to where we are right now."
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com.