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Shields stifles Mariners to remain unbeaten

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- James Shields remained unbeaten on the season with six innings of one-run ball Wednesday as the Padres snapped the Mariners' four-game win streak with a 4-2 decision at Safeco Field.

Shields improved to 5-0 with a 3.91 ERA as he allowed six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts, the lone run off him coming on a Brad Miller homer in the fifth. The Padres got a long ball of their own in the third from Will Middlebrooks. They scored twice in that frame and never relinquished the lead, with the win lifting them back above .500 at 18-17.

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SEATTLE -- James Shields remained unbeaten on the season with six innings of one-run ball Wednesday as the Padres snapped the Mariners' four-game win streak with a 4-2 decision at Safeco Field.

Shields improved to 5-0 with a 3.91 ERA as he allowed six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts, the lone run off him coming on a Brad Miller homer in the fifth. The Padres got a long ball of their own in the third from Will Middlebrooks. They scored twice in that frame and never relinquished the lead, with the win lifting them back above .500 at 18-17.

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"I felt from pitch one I felt really good. I felt I had some good stamina. That team put together some really good at-bats all day long. It was a grind today for sure. I got out of some jams," Shields said.

Young Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker gave up just four hits and two runs in six frames, but took the loss as he fell to 1-3 with a 7.22 ERA. Seattle split the two-game Interleague series and is now 15-18 on the year.

The Mariners were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-10 against Shields.

"The positive was we got them out there. The negative was we couldn't get them in," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "But that guy on the mound had a lot to do with that, too. I thought we had real good at-bats against him, really grinded it out, got the pitch count up and had him on the brink a few times. We just couldn't get the big hit to put us over the hump."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Take that, BABIP: Slumping Padres third baseman Middlebrooks, who entered the game with one hit in his last 25 at-bats, connected for his first home run since April 19 when he drilled a Walker fastball over the left-field fence. Middlebrooks, though scuffling, came into the game with a .213 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), which essentially means he's been unlucky of late. More >

Video: SD@SEA: Middlebrooks drills a solo shot to left

Making his case with the bat: Miller lost the Mariners starting shortstop job to Chris Taylor earlier this month, but he's gotten some time at designated hitter against right-handed pitchers and made the most of it against the Padres. Miller launched an opposite-field home run in the fifth for Seattle's first run, turning around a Shields' fastball and driving it 436 feet, according to Statcast™ He added an RBI double in the ninth as well. Miller also had a pair of doubles in Tuesday's 11-4 win and closed out the series with a 2-for-4 day with that hiked his average from .225 to .250 in two days. More >

Video: SD@SEA: Miller drills a solo shot to left-center

Big Game (James) moment: Shields, nearing the finish line of his start, walked the first two batters in the sixth inning. He then struck out Mike Zunino before getting Dustin Ackley to bounce into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play. The Mariners were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position against Shields. More >

"I went out there for a couple of different reasons. I knew I was going to leave him in. I liked the way he was throwing," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He said he felt good. He was still throwing the ball well. His velocity was up. I like the match up with him and Zunino and he and Ackley."

Video: SD@SEA: Amarista starts an inning-ending double play

Big wheels keep on turning: Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg created the team's fourth run on his own. He singled in the eighth inning, stole second base and went to third base on a throwing error by Zunino. He then scored on a wild pitch, even though the ball didn't roll far from Zunino to make it 4-1.

Video: SD@SEA: Spagenberg crosses plate after wild pitch

QUOTABLE
"I thought tonight was very encouraging. He competed well against a tough ballclub. I was very pleased." -- McClendon on Walker's 102-pitch outing

"Honestly, I really don't care about home runs. I care about wins," -- Shields, who came into this start having allowed seven long balls in his last two starts. He also allowed one Wednesday

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

• Shields, in the first season of a four-year, $75 million contract, became the first Padres pitcher to start a season with a 5-0 record since Justin Germano in 2007. Oddly enough, Germano is pitching for the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma.

Video: SD@SEA: Shields fan Ackley to escape jam

Nelson Cruz saw his record-tying string of five straight Interleague games with a home run come to an end with a 1-for-4 day with a single. Eight players in MLB history have matched that feat, the last being Paul Konerko in 2011.

FAMILIAR FACES
In the seventh inning, Padres reliever Brandon Maurer struck out Seth Smith. What's the big deal? The two were actually traded for each other in December, as the Padres sought a power arm for the bullpen and the Mariners needed a left-handed bat for their right field platoon with Nelson Cruz. Maurer pitched a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 2.70 in 15 appearances. Smith is hitting .279 for Seattle.

Video: SD@SEA: Maurer fans Smith for second out 

WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: The Padres return home to Petco Park on Thursday to open a four-game set against the Nationals. Tyson Ross (1-1, 3.98) gets the start in the opener. It's the first of 10 consecutive games against teams with records of .500 or better. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT

Mariners: Left-hander Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.86 ERA) gets his fourth start in place of the injured Hisashi Iwakuma as Seattle opens a four-game series with the Red Sox in a 7:10 p.m. PT game Thursday at Safeco Field. He'll face Boston right-hander Joe Kelly (1-2, 4.50).

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Llisten to his podcast.Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.

Will Middlebrooks, Brad Miller, James Shields, Taijuan Walker