MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Shields enjoys hitting, life in the NL

After 10 years in the AL, veteran righty is happy to swing the bat

Shields enjoys hitting, life in the NL

ANAHEIM -- After a decade with the Rays and Royals, James Shields finally found his way to the ideal place: the National League, courtesy of the Padres and a free-agent deal shaping up as one of the smartest of the offseason.

"I love hitting, man -- I absolutely love it," Shields said on Tuesday night, his Padres visiting the Angels under designated-hitter regulations. "Obviously, a lot of pitchers were hitters in high school. I played first base [at Hart High School in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles]. I wanted to be a hitter, but it worked out fine."

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

ICYMI: Kemp's knock seals thriller in extras

ICYMI: Kemp's knock seals thriller in extras

It's not every day that you have somebody from the visiting team throw out both the first pitch and the last pitch of a game in a Major League stadium, as the first pitch is typically reserved for somebody from the home team. The Padres, however, were fortunate enough to do just that on Tuesday as the Friars' award-winning TV broadcaster Dick Enberg threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Angel Stadium while closer Craig Kimbrel shut the door with the last pitch of a 4-0 Padres victory. Following a scoreless tie that stretched into extra innings in Anaheim, the Friars came out thanks to a handful of clutch moments on the field and at the plate.

Odrisamer Despaigne pitched wonderfully in Tuesday's start, throwing six scoreless innings while striking out five and surrendering only five hits. Despaigne's fourth strikeout of the ballgame marked the 400th strikeout on the season by the Padres pitching staff, setting a new franchise record for fewest games (47) to hit that mark in a single season. The previous record of 51 games was set last season.

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Kemp breaks through with decisive double in 10th

Kemp breaks through with decisive double in 10th

ANAHEIM -- A productive April has been followed by a month of offensive struggles for Padres' right fielder Matt Kemp.

But even as his batting average plummeted and his swing got long in search of hits while RBI opportunities went unfulfilled, Kemp refused to hang his head.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Kemp's double may break him out of funk

Kemp's double may break him out of funk

ANAHEIM -- Matt Kemp has had one of those months so far for the Padres that he's better off forgetting. But sometimes -- as Crosby, Stills & Nash once sang -- the darkest hour is always, always just before the dawn.

Trying to shake things up for both Kemp and his struggling club, manager Bud Black flipped the right-handed-hitting Kemp and Justin Upton in the batting order Tuesday night against the Angels at Angel Stadium, batting Upton third and Kemp fourth.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Venable robs Trout's homer with sensational grab

Venable robs Trout's homer with sensational grab

ANAHEIM -- There was once a time when Will Venable put his 6-foot-3 frame to good use playing basketball at Princeton.

On Tuesday, though, the Padres' center fielder used it to make an over-the-fence catch, robbing the Angels' Mike Trout of a two-run home run in the third inning. That catch loomed big, as the game remained scoreless until the 10th inning when the Padres plated got four runs for a 4-0 victory over the Angels.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clutch Kemp wins it after Will thrills with catch

Clutch Kemp wins it after Will thrills with catch

ANAHEIM -- Matt Kemp, struggling through a nightmarish month of May, came up big Tuesday night, lining a two-out, bases-clearing double in the 10th inning to lead the Padres to a 4-0 win at Angel Stadium.

Both clubs were held scoreless through the first nine frames -- thanks in large part to Will Venable's sensational over-the-wall grab in the third inning, which robbed Mike Trout of a two-run homer.

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Corey Brock and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tests reveal improvement in Myers' wrist

Tests reveal improvement in Myers' wrist

ANAHEIM -- There was some measure of good news to be had Tuesday in regards to Wil Myers' left wrist, manager Bud Black told reporters.

Myers, on the disabled list with tendinitis in the wrist since May 11, had scans done Tuesday, which revealed improvement.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cashner looks to turn luck around in finale vs. Halos

Cashner looks to turn luck around in finale vs. Halos

The Angels will wrap up their Interleague series against the Padres Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, when right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball against San Diego righty Andrew Cashner.

Richards is coming off his worst outing since his season debut on April 19. He allowed a season-high five runs and nine hits, and struck out a season-low one, in six innings against the Red Sox -- although he still got the win.

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David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Venable making most of increased playing time

Venable making most of increased playing time

ANAHEIM -- Don't look now, but the Padres' hottest hitter of late isn't one of general manager A.J. Preller's prized offseason acquisitions.

Outfielder Will Venable, the longest-tenured Padre, is hitting .400 in his last 45 at-bats and has raised his batting average from .133 on May 7 to .293 entering Tuesday's game against the Angels.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pitch to Pujols or Trout? 'It's a tough one,' Black says

Pitch to Pujols or Trout? 'It's a tough one,' Black says

ANAHEIM -- When Mike Trout came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday with runners on the corners and two outs, Padres manager Bud Black was left to mull over a difficult decision.

Do you pitch to Mike Trout or do you walk him, set up a force at any base, and instead pitch to Albert Pujols?

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Center: I'm walking Trout, too

Pujols much less a threat than Angels' top hitter

Center: I'm walking Trout, too

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Twitter world is filled today with "How could Bud Black intentionally walk Mike Trout to face Albert Pujols?" messages.

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ICYMI: Friars' comeback for naught as Angels walk off

ICYMI: Friars' comeback for naught as Angels walk off

Monday night's game had a little bit of everything for the Padres as Tyson Ross collected the team's seventh quality start in a row before outfielder Will Venable and first baseman Yangervis Solarte tied the game with a three-run rally in the seventh. Unfortunately, the Angels were able to undo the work set forward by the team after walking off to a 4-3 victory over the Friars at Angel Stadium.

The offense continued to keep their bats warm after Sunday's rout over the Dodgers by collecting nine hits on the evening against the Angels' pitching corps. San Diego's hitters were able to score three runs on a hard-fought two-out rally late in the game, continuing to show the team's resiliency in pressure situations. Solarte and Will Middlebrooks  each enjoyed a multihit game along with outfielder Justin Upton , while Venable snagged his third stolen base on the season. Despite the team's offensive successes, the Angels were able to crack the Padres' bullpen late in the game and took the series opener.

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Padres rally but Angels answer with walk-off in 9th

Padres rally but Angels answer with walk-off in 9th

 ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols lined a broken-bat single through the left side against Padres closer Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, sending the Angels to a thrilling 4-3 walk-off win in Southern California on Memorial Day.

With the score tied at 3 and Kevin Quackenbush on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, Marc Krauss drew a one-out walk and Johnny Giavotella followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners. Kimbrel entered the game, struck out Erick Aybar and intentionally walked Mike Trout to load the bases. Shortly after that, Pujols came through with his eighth career walk-off hit or RBI.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maurer stakes claim on 'pivotal' 7th inning

Padres reliever scoreless in 11 straight appearances

Maurer stakes claim on 'pivotal' 7th inning

ANAHEIM -- Nothing at all against the first six innings of a game or even the last two, but Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said the seventh inning rates highly in his eyes.

"I think it's one of the most pivotal innings in baseball … especially when you have the lead," Balsley said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giron named Class A Midwest League Player of the Week

RHPs Hancock, Butler sharp for Double-A San Antonio

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Eighteen-year-old shortstop Ruddy Giron has been named the Class A Midwest League Player of the Week, and Double-A San Antonio got strong pitching efforts from right-handed starters Justin Hancock and Ryan Butler on Monday while splitting a Texas League doubleheader with Frisco.

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Decker hits two homers, drives in six runs for Triple-A El Paso

Liriano 4-for-5 with homer for Chihuahuas

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Justin Upton wasn't the only member of the Padres family with six RBIs Sunday. Triple-A slugger Cody Decker hit two home runs and drove in six runs, and right fielder Rymer Liriano was 4-for-5 with a homer as El Paso had 18 hits in a 10-3 Pacific Coast League victory at New Orleans.

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Myers encouraged, but no timetable for return

Padres center fielder to undergo more tests on injured wrist

Myers encouraged, but no timetable for return

ANAHEIM -- Center fielder/first baseman Wil Myers will return to San Diego on Tuesday to get a new scan done on his injured left wrist.

Myers, who hasn't played since May 10 due to tendinitis in his left wrist, will also undergo tests to check the rate of healing with the tendinitis, manager Bud Black said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shields sets several Padres marks starting 6-0

Upton on pace to one of greatest seasons in franchise history

Shields sets several Padres marks starting 6-0

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

James Shields became only the second pitcher in franchise history to start a season with a 6-0 record Sunday.

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Upton sparks Padres' offense out of slumber

Slugger's early slam, 6 RBIs lead way in 20-hit effort

Upton sparks Padres' offense out of slumber

LOS ANGELES -- Justin Upton gave the Padres' scuffling offense something it desperately needed on Sunday, and he did it with one singular swing of the bat.

Not his bat of choice, mind you. But certainly a worthy substitute.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

ICYMI: Padres rebound on batting resurgence

ICYMI: Padres rebound on batting resurgence

For starting pitcher James Shields and the Padres, getting swept by the Dodgers was absolutely not an option on Sunday as the team broke out in a big way to beat Los Angeles by a score of 11-3 at Chavez Ravine. One day after collecting only one hit in a shutout, the swinging Friars came out and erased any memory of their offensive woes by pounding out 11 runs on 20 hits in the series finale.

Outfielder Justin Upton opened the scoring for the Padres early by hitting a towering grand slam into left-center field in the top of the first, collecting the first four of his six total RBIs on the day. The Padres would go on to add four more runs in the second, thanks to a two-run single by Derek Norris and another pair of RBI courtesy of a Justin Upton double. A few more runs would come in thanks to Will Middlerbooks' solo home run, Alexi Amarista's sacrifice fly and an RBI single off the bat of Abraham Almonte. The 11 runs of support generated by the Padres offense would prove to be more than enough for Shields who went on to improve his record to 6-0 thanks to seven strong innings with seven strikeouts on the day. Shields also increased his strikeout total on the season to a now Major League-leading 82 total punchouts.

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Shields keeps edge with bats' big backing

Padres ace moves to 6-0, fans 7 in efficient outing

Shields keeps edge with bats' big backing

LOS ANGELES -- Before James Shields threw a single pitch Sunday, he'd already been staked to a 4-0 lead, thanks to Justin Upton's grand slam in the top of the first inning.

Not to be upstaged, Shields got on a good roll of his own, retiring 16 of 17 at one point before he allowed three runs in the seventh inning of the Padres' 11-3 victory over the Dodgers.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Upton's slam sets tone as Padres rout Dodgers

Upton's slam sets tone as Padres rout Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- With Justin Upton's six RBIs and seven solid innings from James Shields, the Padres on Sunday avoided a series sweep while coasting to a 11-3 win over the Dodgers.

"He's swinging the bat great. Right from the get-go, he's had good at-bats. He's a threat. He's doing what he does," said Padres manager Bud Black of Upton.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morrow eyes return after encouraging BP session

Padres starter on DL since May 3 with shoulder inflammation

Morrow eyes return after encouraging BP session

LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Morrow, on the disabled list since May 3 with inflammation of his right shoulder, is closing in on a simulated game after an encouraging bullpen session on Sunday.

Morrow threw 45 pitches before the Padres faced the Dodgers in the series finale at Dodger Stadium. He threw all of his pitches and worked out of the windup and the stretch.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Alonso 'feeling good,' to begin rehab stint soon

Padres first baseman sidelined since May 7 with shoulder injury

Alonso 'feeling good,' to begin rehab stint soon

LOS ANGELES -- Starved for runs, the Padres could be close to getting one of their most productive bats back in the lineup.

First baseman Yonder Alonso, who has missed the last 15 games with a bone bruise in his right shoulder, will hit on the field Monday in Anaheim and will likely begin a rehabilitation assignment on Wednesday.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shortstop Giron continues amazing first week for Fort Wayne

Decker hits eighth home run for Triple-A El Paso

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Shortstop Ruddy Giron continued his phenomenal first week of full-season Minor League baseball on Saturday, going 3-for-4 with two steals for low Single-A Fort Wayne.

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ICYMI: Offense left stunned as Friars fall in LA

ICYMI: Offense left stunned as Friars fall in LA

For the fifth start in a row, a member of the Padres' starting rotation threw a quality start -- after starter Ian Kennedy pitched beautifully on Saturday night. Kennedy allowed only two earned runs, while striking out six over six innings, but was given no run support in his endeavor against the Dodgers. The Padres managed to collect only one hit against Mike Bolsinger and were unfortunately shut out, 2-0.

The lone Padres baserunner of the night, Yangervis Solarte, opened up the game with a ground-ball single into center field. Solarte was quickly erased by a double play, and the Friars would go on to be handcuffed at the plate for the remainder of the evening. While the offense was nowhere to be found, the Padres' pitching continued to show signs of improvement, as Kennedy's quality start was handily complemented by relievers Kevin Quackenbush and Frank Garces. Quackenbush and Garces pitched two scoreless innings in relief, collecting a combined three strikeouts along the way.

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