DETROIT -- James Shields gave the White Sox a quality start over seven innings, but he faltered in the fifth inning and run support was hard to come by. Chicago's offense had no answer for Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, and the South Siders dropped the rubber game of the series,
DETROIT -- James Shields gave the White Sox a quality start over seven innings, but he faltered in the fifth inning and run support was hard to come by. Chicago's offense had no answer for Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, and the South Siders dropped the rubber game of the series, 3-2, on Sunday at Comerica Park.
Shields was dominant through four innings, only giving up an RBI double to Grayson Greiner in the second inning. He mixed pitches effortlessly for early contact that saw him retire eight batters on four or fewer pitches. Shields' momentum stopped in the fifth inning, though, and the end result could have been far worse than indicated on the scoreboard.
Detroit sent eight to the plate in the fifth inning, scoring two and threatening to deepen the damage. Shields managed to keep the Tigers' advantage to two RBI singles, but he walked two to give them a bases-loaded situation. Victor Martinez flied out to deep right field to end the inning with the White Sox down by two runs.
"I had too many walks," said Shields, who allowed three free passes and five hits. "It was a grind day for me. Every walk that I had scored, so at the end of the day, that's something that I can control. They took advantage of it. ... They capitalized on a couple of pitches that I threw up in the zone [in the fifth inning]. Ended up minimizing the damage with the couple of runs that I gave up right there, but at the end of the day, I have to do my job early and get those first two hitters out."
Shields salvaged his start with two more scoreless innings for a strong finish, but Chicago's offense was unable to do much against Hardy except for a third-inning RBI triple from Yolmer Sanchez.
"[Hardy] didn't have a lot of velocity, but the [velocity] differential in his changeup was special," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said after the game. "He kept it away from righties pretty well, kept you honest. The changeup and the offspeed pitch that he had was working to his advantage."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Rondon's power surge a good sign for White Sox: Facing a 2-2 count with no one on base and two outs in the ninth inning, Jose Rondon continued his strong week with a home run off Tigers closer Shane Greene to cut the two-run deficit in half. Greene struck out the next batter, Yoan Moncada, to seal the save.
Rondon, who hit cleanup behind Jose Abreu on Sunday, has now homered in three of the White Sox last four games.
HE SAID IT
"I wish we could've gotten [Shields] some runs. It seems like he's the hard-luck guy right now for us in some instances, because he gives us good outings, and that's just what we have to do, is score some runs." -- Renteria, on Shields, who registered five quality starts in his six May outings without earning a win
The White Sox start a three-game series on Monday in Cleveland to conclude a six-game road trip. Coming off his first Major League win and the best start of his career, Dylan Covey will get the ball for Chicago. Covey threw a career-high seven innings, allowing one run and striking out eight. He will face Indians right-hander Adam Plutko, with first pitch set for 3:10 p.m. CT.
Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.