Fan favorite James Shields took the bump in an interleague contest Tuesday against one of the four teams with TAv lower than the White Sox. Seven runs crossed the plate under his watch, and the Phillies grabbed the opener of this short, two-game series.
Not much excitement in this one until the end, but the game did begin in a way familiar to those who have watched Shields make starts in 2016. The third Phillies batter of the game, Odubel Herrera, took him deep to put the Sox at a quick 2-0 deficit. On a relative scale, Shields recovered from his first inning, never looking sharp, but keeping the ball in the park from there on out, which was a nice change of pace. Still, he would be unable to survive the sixth inning and was shown the exit when Robin Ventura wisely chose not to allow him to face Herrera for a fourth time.
Shields failed to record an out against Herrera in three tries. He had two singles in addition to his first inning homer. The second of those singles came in the fifth, a run scoring single through the drawn-in infield that plated Philadelphia’s fifth run of the game.
The Sox did manage some of their own offense, with all of their runs condensed into the third inning. A Tim Anderson double and Jose Abreu walk – both occurring with two outs – preceded Melky Cabrera yanking a change-up inside the right field foul pole to give the Sox a tragically short-lived 3-2 lead. Shields contributed to the offense in the fifth with 40 feet of ground ball that kissed along the third baseline at a pace that would have embarrassed Paul Konerko, and ended up an infield hit. He was followed by a somewhat less improbably Anderson walk, and yet the Sox ended the frame without scoring.
22 year-old rookie Jake Thompson, already on his third organization after having arrived from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade, made the start for the Phillies. Thompson was coming off of a stretch of four-straight starts in which he allowed two runs or less. That third inning two-out attack was his only pain point of the night, but it broke his streak and kept the White Sox from falling absolutely flat, which means he’ll probably get a good dressing down by his pitching coach.
The bullpen managed to survive the rest of the game post-Shields without allowing any further scoring, and that included a Matt Albers inning! Omar Narvaez caught his first would-be base stealer in that same frame.
Jeanmar Gomez opened the door for a Sox comeback in the ninth. With the Sox down four runs, A leadoff single by Todd Frazier was followed up by a two-out infield single from Leury Garcia, and a wild pitch walk to Justin Morneau which scored Frazier. Adam Eaton chased Gomez with a double to left center that scored a pair more and Anderson stepped to the plate to face Michael Mariot, on in a real live save situation and with the Phillies clinging to a one-run lead.
But it was not meant to be. Anderson grounded out quietly to short, and Mariot recorded the first save of his career.
Team Record: 72-79
Next game is Wednesday at Philadelphia at 6:05pm CT on CSN
Lead Photo Credit: Bill Streiker – USA Today Sports Images