Shields threw 99 pitches and induced 10 groundball outs and struck out four. He allowed three runs -- the only trouble he ran into was when he gave up back-to-back homers to Carlos Lee and Pedro Feliz in the sixth inning.
"I felt it was a good one to go out on as far as going deep into the game and making quality pitches," Shields said. "It was the first time all spring training I thought the ball was flying out of my hand pretty good. Mechanically I'm getting better every start."
Shields will not pitch with the Rays before he takes the mound for his third consecutive opening day start, April 6 in Baltimore. He will pitch once more in a minor league game.
"Him and Hick (pitching coach Jim Hickey) talked early on about concentrating on first-pitch strikes with his fastball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "As he got into the second and third inning he started to do that more consistently. He threw the other stuff well, but I like the command of the fastball today."
Lee hit a two-run home run with two outs in the sixth for his second home run and eighth and ninth RBIs of the spring. Feliz followed with his third homer.
"Carlos Lee can do that to anybody," Maddon said of Lee's homer. "He just got a fastball in the wrong spot. He was trying to throw a four-seam fastball, but it came back over the middle of the plate. With Feliz it was a cutter that just stayed in the middle, which is like a bad fastball. Other than that he had a good day."
Both managers met after the 10th and following a short conference shook hands to signify the end of the ballgame.
Pena raised his batting average 45 points to .128 (5 for 39) after going 2 for 3 with an RBI double in the first.
Rodriguez was hit hard in the first inning for the second straight start. He needed 30 pitches to get through the opening frame while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks. In the last two starts, he's allowed eight runs in the first on six hits and two walks.
Rodriguez feels confident that he's pinpointed the source of his early problems.
"I saw today early on, my front foot was landing pointed toward first base," Rodriguez said. The next three innings I pointed it towards the plate. That helped me feel more comfortable. Those last three innings I had a good one so maybe that's it.
I need to be able to do that instinctively. I know the last couple of times when I was throwing, I was feeling like I was getting stuck," he added. "Today, I realized where my foot was landing and I corrected it and felt a lot better."
Like Shields, this was Rodriguez's final start of the spring with the big league club. Hell pitch in a minor league game on three days' rest so that he can get back to Houston to be with his wife, who is expecting to give birth to their second child soon.
Astros manager Brad Mills was clearly concerned about his No. 2 pitchers first-inning woes.
"He's had a couple of issues in the first inning," Mills said. But he's come back and thrown the ball extremely well and made that adjustment. They've been working on some things, and hopefully the adjustment will come out to be exactly what he needs to be."
Michael Bourn was back in the Astros lineup for the first time since March 17. He strained an oblique muscle during batting practice March 19. He doubled over Pat Burrell's head in left field in the third and finished 1 for 3.
The Astros decided Friday night to hold off on sending ace Roy Oswalt back to Houston to have his tight left hamstring examined. Oswalt was in camp Saturday morning, but will head to Houston and be examined by Dr. Dave McCann on Monday. ... Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella took grounders Friday, but Mills said his starting shortstop is still a ways from returning to the team. "We're more concerned with Tommy's lateral movement and quick bursts," Mills said. "He still feels it a little bit going side-to-side. We might have to extend him a couple of days until he feels like he's able to do that. But his pain level is much better." ... Rays infielder Willy Aybars left hamstring injury has improved enough to where he started at first base in a minor league game Saturday. ... Rays outfielder Matt Joyces right elbow is still bothering him and he's still having trouble throwing the ball from outfield depth. Maddon says it's 50-50 whether Joyce will be on the opening day roster. If he isn't, Maddon says Reid Brignac, Hank Blalock and Sean Rodriguez could take his roster spot.