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Shields, White Sox struggle vs. Astros in opener

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Following James Shields' relief outing in the 14th inning Wednesday at Oakland, concerns arose about whether or not he'd be able to make his scheduled start Friday against the Astros. But, as manager Rick Renteria said before the game, there was never any doubt in Shields' mind.

Shields pitched well through the first three innings, scattering just two hits and striking out two, but things unraveled in the fourth as the Astros took the series opener, 10-0.

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CHICAGO -- Following James Shields' relief outing in the 14th inning Wednesday at Oakland, concerns arose about whether or not he'd be able to make his scheduled start Friday against the Astros. But, as manager Rick Renteria said before the game, there was never any doubt in Shields' mind.

Shields pitched well through the first three innings, scattering just two hits and striking out two, but things unraveled in the fourth as the Astros took the series opener, 10-0.

View Full Game Coverage

"I was cruising there. I gave up a bunch of seeing-eye hits," Shields said of the fourth. "They didn't really hit me that hard, to be honest with you. They had one hard-hit ball and that was [Derek] Fisher at the end of the game."

Video: HOU@CWS: Sox turn strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP

Four Astros reached base to start that inning, and it only got worse when George Springer hit a Little League home run -- doubling home two before scoring on a Tim Anderson relay-throw error. Shields fought through 5 1/3 innings on 111 pitches, his highest pitch count since July 26, 2016, in order to give the bullpen some rest.

"That's what I'm here to do; pick my boys up," Shields said. "They needed me to go that last inning in Oakland and I'm ready to go today. I felt fine today."

The White Sox offense, which erupted for 11 runs two days ago in Oakland, fell silent against Verlander and the Astros' bullpen. Verlander held Chicago hitless into the fifth inning, with Anderson's one-out single spoiling the no-no. Jose Abreu recorded the only other hit, a two-out single in the sixth.

Video: HOU@CWS: Anderson singles for White Sox's first hit

"We weren't able to really get anything going with [Verlander], and up until the fourth inning or whatever it was, we had a pretty good ballgame going," Renteria said. "He used his fastball very effectively, he didn't get off of it very much, used his breaking ball when he needed to. He just did a very nice job, you tip your cap to him."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Verlander jaws with Anderson: In the fifth inning, after Anderson's single, Verlander took exception to Anderson trying to steal second base on a 3-0 count to Omar Narvaez. Even though Anderson was going to be safe anyway, as the pitch to Narvaez was a ball, Verlander said he didn't appreciate Anderson celebrating a "bad baseball decision."

"I walk [Narvaez] and he steals [on] 3-0 and kind of celebrates that at second base again," Verlander said. "I don't even know what he's celebrating. He didn't get credit for a stolen base. Maybe he thought he did. I don't know."

Verlander went on to say that he was "jubilant" and "very thankful he gave me an out" when he picked Anderson off after he tried to steal third later that inning, and Verlander told him so on the field. Anderson retreated safely to second, but Narvaez was tagged out trying to advance. Anderson shrugged off Verlander's comments following the game.

Video: HOU@CWS: Verlander, Altuve team up for strange out

"I don't care what other people think, that [doesn't] bother me," Anderson said. "I don't know [what Verlander said]. I [couldn't] care less."

HE SAID IT
"We're trying to kind of process everything that happened. We're going to talk to some of the trainers and see what's going on. We just hope he's doing OK and is [back] with us tomorrow."
-- reliever Aaron Bummer, on Danny Farquhar being hospitalized after fainting in the dugout during the sixth inning

Video: HOU@CWS: Farquhar faints in dugout, taken to hospital

UP NEXT
Lucas Giolito has not pitched since April 12 during a loss to the Twins at Target Field. But the right-hander gets the call Saturday with a first pitch of 6:10 p.m. CT against the Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field. Giolito is limiting right-handed hitters to a .171 average. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will get the nod for Houston.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox