ST. LOUIS -- The White Sox are developing young talent as part of their ongoing rebuild, with as much if not more attention paid to top prospect Michael Kopech's start for Triple-A Charlotte and Dylan Cease's dominant 12-strikeout mound effort for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem on Tuesday as their series opener with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
That fact doesn't make the Cards' 3-2 walk-off victory any easier to handle. And according to veteran starter James Shields, who pitched six strong innings in a no-decision, it doesn't make losses like this one any easier to accept.
"As a team, we've got to find ways to win those one-run ballgames. We need to get better at that as the year goes on," said Shields, whose team dropped to 3-8 in one-run games. "Look, we're fighting here right now. The clubhouse morale is still good, but we've got to pull some wins together."
After carrying a 2-1 lead into the ninth, the outcome of the game changed in four batters with Joakim Soria on the mound. Matt Carpenter tied the game leading off the bottom of the ninth with his 100th career home run, and Yadier Molina's single to left scored Marcell Ozuna, who had doubled to right with one out.
Soria finished with his second blown save, and the White Sox dipped to 8-19 with a third straight loss.
"They are good hitters. They are a good lineup," Soria said. "They ended up having the results. I felt good out there. I did my 100 percent like I always offer. But today wasn't good enough."
"Hopefully we can put this one to bed," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "These guys are feeling it right now. It's a tough loss. It was a well-played game throughout. We did a lot of good things. We just fell short."
Shields, making his 47th Interleague start (48th appearance), allowed a mammoth leadoff home run to Tommy Pham, then faced the minimum 18 hitters over six innings. Shields retired 15 in a row at one point, leaving Cardinals hitters 2-for-38 over the last two games against opposing starters, before Kolten Wong's infield single opened the sixth. Wong was quickly erased when Welington Castillo threw him out stealing on a swinging third strike from pinch-hitter Greg Garcia. Shields struck out four and didn't issue a walk over 93 pitches.
A potential clean victory turned into a learning experience for this young team. But it's a learning experience Shields believes this rebuilding group doesn't have to repeat.
"All aspects of our game, we're capable of putting that together and getting it done. Again, we've just got to get the job done," Shields said. "Obviously it's a learning process with a lot of these guys, but an important part of the game is winning games like this.
"I don't like losing, but we've got to move forward. My whole career I've taken losses about 30 minutes after the game and moved on. No one wants to lose in this clubhouse, that's for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Abreu cuts down Carp:Jose Abreu finished 1-for-4 at the plate but made a game-changing play defensively in the seventh. With Carpenter on third and one out, Ozuna hit a spinner toward Abreu at first, with Abreu grabbing the grounder and easily nailing Carpenter at the plate. The Cardinals stranded runners at first and third against reliever Bruce Rondon, keeping the White Sox lead at 2-1.
Jones induces key DP:Nate Jones took a little walk on the wild side in the eighth, issuing free passes to Paul DeJong and pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko with one out and a one-run White Sox lead. But Pham, the team's most dangerous hitter, bounced into an inning-ending double play in the ensuing at-bat, with third baseman Matt Davidson fielding the ball, stepping on third and throwing to first.
GO GO WHITE SOX REVISITED
Stolen bases from Thompson and Engel gave the White Sox 27 swipes for the season as a team, which leads the American League. They had two or more stolen bases in a game for the sixth time this season.
HE SAID IT
"I had no stressful innings throughout the game. I felt good at the end. Unfortunately, my at-bat came up. I didn't really feel like facing 102 miles per hour anyway. On the flip side, I'm kind of glad he took me out in that situation." -- Shields, on being pinch-hit for at 93 pitches and not having to face Cards reliever Jordan Hicks and his 102 mph fastball
Right-hander Lucas Giolito is scheduled to make his sixth start of the season -- fourth on the road and first during Interleague Play -- Wednesday afternoon vs. the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, with a first pitch scheduled for 12:15 p.m. CT. Giolito has an 8.69 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .250 opponents' average and 17 walks over his last four starts, although he won his last start, beating the Royals. Carlos Martinez gets the nod for St. Louis.