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Shields reaches 200-IP mark before Sox walk off

Righty goes at least 6 for 26th time in '18; Palka's 2-run single caps 9th-inning comeback
September 25, 2018

CHICAGO -- James Shields' last start of 2018 went much like his other 32, as the veteran right-hander completed six innings.For the 10th time in the last 12 seasons, Shields reached 200 innings for the year, attaining the milestone mark with a Josh Donaldson groundout in the second inning. Shields

CHICAGO -- James Shields' last start of 2018 went much like his other 32, as the veteran right-hander completed six innings.
For the 10th time in the last 12 seasons, Shields reached 200 innings for the year, attaining the milestone mark with a Josh Donaldson groundout in the second inning. Shields became the eighth pitcher in MLB this season to throw at least 200 innings, and he has more 200-inning seasons since 2007 than all pitchers except Justin Verlander.
And even though Shields left on the hook for his 17th loss of the year, the final score proved the icing on the cake Tuesday evening. Daniel Palka walked off the Indians with a two-run single in the ninth off Carlos Carrasco, giving the White Sox a 5-4 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.

"I just try to keep it as simple as possible," Palka said. "Luckily, it was my third AB off of him, so I saw everything he was getting me out with and was just kind of waiting on that."
Indians starter Trevor Bauer gave up a two-run homer to Avisail Garcia in the first inning -- Garcia's career-high 19th home run. Bauer and Carrasco then combined to hold the White Sox scoreless through the next seven innings before the ninth-inning comeback.

• Garcia to have arthroscopic knee surgery after season
The Indians had left-handed reliever Brad Hand warming up, possibly for Palka, but Carrasco, working his fifth inning in relief, remained in the game.
"I thought maybe there was a possibility [Hand would enter], but also they are not in a position where their wins are vital right now. Maybe they just wanted to let [Carrasco] be in that situation," Palka said.

Shields added to his impressive collection of six-inning starts, going at least six for the 26th time. He joined Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Verlander and Corey Kluber as the only pitchers to accomplish that feat so far in 2018.
With a lat strain having sidelined him for a few months last season, Shields said his main goal for 2018 was to get back to the 200-inning mark.
"This is one of the things that I've prided myself in every single year -- to be able to go 200, and more than anything to be able to post every start," Shields said. "Last year was the only time in my career I went on the DL for a couple months, and the dedication that I put in on a daily basis in the offseason, during this season, in between starts -- I definitely am trying to reflect on it and enjoy the moment."
"He worked his rear end off to put himself in a position to do that," manager Rick Renteria said. "Even when he was in the last inning of his work and working in some traffic, most were thinking, 'Gosh, this could implode on him,' but he's a professional and he ended up working really well. … A tribute to his experience and his knowledge and his confidence and his grittiness."

Shields kept the Indians off the scoreboard in the first two innings, but he struggled to find the strike zone, throwing 19 of 33 pitches for balls. Cleveland eventually took advantage of Shields' wildness in the third, stringing together three two-out hits and a walk before Yonder Alonso's two-run single put the Indians in front for good.
Yan Gomes added a leadoff home run in the fourth against Shields, the last run he allowed for the night. Shields finished the year with a 4.53 ERA and 204 2/3 innings pitched, his highest total since 2015 -- but only the eighth-highest of his career.
As Shields' 2018 comes to a close, his status for next season remains uncertain. The White Sox can exercise a $16 million team option or buy Shields out for $2 million.
Regardless, Shields says will enjoy Tuesday as long as he can.
"We'll see where life takes me after this season's over," Shields said. "I've loved my time here. The guys are great, the coaching staff's a great coaching staff, and the training staff I can't say enough about what they've done for me over the last three years, and just the organization itself has been an amazing organization to be a part of.
"So we'll see where it goes this offseason, but right now I'm enjoying my time, and I'm gonna reflect on the season this year and get back to work."
A new first baseman?: Utility infielder Jose Rondon made an appearance at first base in the ninth inning after pinch-running for Matt Davidson the previous inning. The ninth marked Rondon's first professional inning at first, and he made two nice plays. Rondon ran several dozen feet to catch a foul pop up in front of the Indians dugout, and picked a Leury Garcia throw out of the dirt to retire Brandon Guyer.

"Ever since I was in Tampa, I've prided myself on being a leader in this clubhouse, and just helping the guys out and being a good teammate. Hopefully these guys take all of the advice and the experience that I've had over the years and take it to heart, and I love every one of my teammates I've ever been with. It's been nice." -- Shields, on being a mentor to the younger White Sox pitchers
As the White Sox ramped up their comeback attempt in the ninth, Gomes tried picking off Adam Engel at second base. Engel was ruled safe on the field, but the Indians challenged the call. After a review, the call on the field stood, leaving Engel in scoring position with no outs.

The White Sox play their final home game of the 2018 season on Wednesday, taking on the Indians at 7:10 p.m. CT at Guaranteed Rate Field. Renteria said that the White Sox will have a "bullpen game" for the finale. Jace Fry (2-2, 4.32 ERA) is expected to take the ball to start. Shane Bieber (10-5, 4.80) goes for Cleveland.

Max Gelman is a reporter for based in Chicago.