Shields raised his hands in utter confusion.
“He was like, ‘What’s going on? This is a good ball. I like this ball,’” Royals manager Ned Yost said, “‘and Salvy is making me throw the ball back in.’”
It took Shields a moment - and some help from the scoreboard - to realize he had just reached 1,500 career strikeouts. It came in the sixth inning Tuesday night as he struck out the side, highlighting Kansas City’s 5-1 victory over hot-hitting Colorado.
“Normally when the umpire calls for the ball, the hitter is checking the ball or whatever, wants to take it out of play,” Shields said with a grin. “And I’m like, ‘I just struck the guy out!’ But once they pointed at the scoreboard I knew what was going on.”
Perez helped him out with the bat, too, hitting a solo homer. Alcides Escobar drove in a pair of runs and Lorenzo Cain added a two-run shot to provide plenty of support.
Franklin Morales (3-3) gave up four runs for the Rockies. He allowed eight hits and four walks without a strikeout in five innings, needing 99 pitches just to get that far.
“I need to pitch better, man, because that’s my job,” he said. “I try to do the best I can, but when I’m behind in the count every time I got in trouble.”
The Royals jumped on Morales right from the start, a pair of double plays the only thing keeping the game from getting out of hand early. Still, Kansas City was able to coax a run across on a two-out single by Escobar to take the lead in the second inning.
Cain made it a 3-1 lead with his two-run shot in the fourth. It was the first home run by the Royals’ injury-prone outfielder since July 4 against Cleveland. The ball landed in the bullpen in left field to end a drought for Cain spanning 206 at-bats.
Perez added his solo shot in the fifth, the ball landing in just about the same spot.
That was more than enough support for Shields, who induced a double play to escape a jam in the second inning and then left two runners aboard in the fourth during a nice bounce-back performance at Kauffman Stadium.
In his previous home start, Shields allowed eight runs and 12 hits in a loss to Detroit.
“He did a good job of shutting this lineup down,” Rockies catcher Jordan Pacheco said.