After last night's frustrating loss, the Padres needed more than a win today. They needed the kind of resounding, dominating victory that reminds a team of who they are and what they can do. And thanks to James Shields and Justin Upton, that's exactly what they got.
Dodgers starting pitcher Carlos Frias had nothing working for him from the very beginning of the game. Yangervis Solarte led off with a double to left field, and then Will Venable and Matt Kemp drew back-to-back walks. That Upton to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Upton got ahead in the count 2-0, then fouled off a couple pitches before he found one he liked. And man, he really liked it, crushing his twelfth homer and first grand slam of the year well past the center field fence.
And Upton wasn't done. Frias kept on struggling in the second, with Shields hitting a leadoff single. Two more singles from Venable and Kemp loaded the bases for Upton yet again. We weren't lucky enough to see two grand slams in a single game, but a double to left gave Upton his fifth and sixth RBI of the day. Derek Norris backed him up with a two-RBI single to put the Padres up 8-0 after just two innings. Will Middlebrooks joined the run parade in the third with a solo homer to left, and a few bloops in the fifth and eight innings brought the good guys to 11 runs, their highest score since May 1st.
Through all of that, James Shields was dealing. In his first six innings of work, he allowed just one hit while holding the Dodgers scoreless. He only saw trouble in the seventh inning, when LA batters led off with three straight singles to load the bases. Two of those runners were erased when Andre Ethier grounded into a double play, though Jimmy Rollins scored from third. Unfortunately, Shields got touched one more time that inning, when Alex Guerrero hit a two-run blast to left center field. Dale Thayer and Shaun Kelley took over for the last two innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three on the way to an 11-3 victory.
The Padres will try to take that momentum down the freeway to Anaheim, where Tyson Ross will take on the Angels at 6:05 PM.
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