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Shields bitten by long ball as Sox fall in finale

Chicago splits series after struggling against stellar Berrios
Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- James Shields is in the midst of the longest winless stretch in his career, but it hadn't reflected how the White Sox right-hander had pitched over the past month.

A return to Target Field in Minnesota didn't help Shields' outlook.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- James Shields is in the midst of the longest winless stretch in his career, but it hadn't reflected how the White Sox right-hander had pitched over the past month.

A return to Target Field in Minnesota didn't help Shields' outlook.

View Full Game Coverage

Shields had his string of quality starts snapped at four with another tough outing at Target Field as Chicago lost, 7-2, to the Twins on Thursday.

Shields (1-7) had pitched into the seventh inning and allowed three runs or fewer in his last four starts, but he fell to 0-5 with a 6.60 ERA in his last five starts in Minnesota.

"The homers got me today," Shields said. "Left the ball up to three hitters, and they got me. That cost me the game. I was kind of up in the zone early in the game."

Video: CWS@MIN: Moncada plates Tilson with a double

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu had RBI doubles for the White Sox, but the team missed an opportunity to win its second straight series. Chicago split with the Twins after taking two of three games against Milwaukee.

The White Sox offense sputtered against Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios (7-5), who allowed no hits or walks until Omar Narvaez hit a two-out, ground-rule double in the fifth inning.

Video: CWS@MIN: Narvaez's double breaks up Berrios' no-no

"I feel like we've played a little better baseball here over the last five, seven days," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "I thought we ended up losing one I thought we could have had in the first game of the series. Today was a game in which they were able to put the bat on the ball pretty well, scored some runs, kept us at bay on the offense."

Shields allowed a season-high-tying seven runs and hasn't won since Opening Day against Kansas City. He surrendered eight hits and two walks while striking out six, but was bitten by the long ball again.

After giving up three home runs in his last start, he allowed three on Thursday to Minnesota. Shields has yielded 10 home runs this season.

Shields had rounded into form since the start of May, perhaps giving the young White Sox a potential trade piece as the summer continued. Shields had a 3.45 ERA in 47 innings since the start of May and had allowed an opponent's batting average of just .193 while posting six quality starts in seven outings.

Video: CWS@MIN: Rosario crushes a 3-run jack to right

The Twins jumped on the veteran right-hander quickly on Thursday. Eddie Rosario doubled with one out in the first, and Eduardo Escobar followed with a two-run homer. Ehire Adrianza added a solo shot in the second, and Minnesota tallied four runs in the fourth, including a three-run homer by Rosario.

"It was up in the zone," Shields said. "It was right down the middle up in the zone. They're good hitters over there, and they took advantage of it. I have got to minimize those pitches right there and kind of know the situation a little bit better and execute my pitch right there."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The White Sox might have had a chance to break through for more in the later innings against Berrios, but Narvaez was thrown out twice on the bases. After getting the first hit off Berrios in the fifth, he was thrown out at the plate by Rosario while trying to score on a single by Jose Rondon.

Video: CWS@MIN: Rosario throws out Narvaez at the plate

In the seventh, Narvaez hit a one-out single to right but was out trying to reach second.

Video: CWS@MIN: Grossman makes a strong throw to nab Narvaez

SOUND SMART
Shields has not enjoyed his trips to Target Field, the outdoor ballpark that opened in 2010. He tied Rick Porcello for the most starts among opposing pitchers at the park with his 12th on Thursday. The three home runs he allowed gave him 13 surrendered at Target Field, the most of any opponent.

Former Chicago pitcher John Danks previously held the record with 11 homers surrendered in 10 starts.

HE SAID IT
"That wasn't necessarily a very good baseball play. We talked a little bit about it. You're down by five runs. He hit the ball very hard. Obviously got to the wall quickly, they got to the wall quickly ... He's got to keep his head up, see the play. You know the score. You know the situation. You read and recognize. It's OK to pull up, nice hard turn, that's great. They stop it and you can return. I think there was a little exuberance there." -- Renteria, on Narvaez being thrown out at second base

UP NEXT
Chicago's three-game, weekend series in Boston begins with a matchup against an old friend. Chris Sale (5-3, 3.00 ERA) starts Friday's 6:10 p.m. CT game for the Red Sox as the White Sox counter with right-hander Dylan Covey (1-1, 2.82 ERA). Chicago put up six runs -- five earned -- in five innings against the left-hander in their only meeting last season. Covey will be making his fifth start of the season after allowing just one unearned run in five innings in his last outing against Milwaukee.

Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minnesota.

Chicago White Sox, James Shields