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White Sox 8th-inning rally backs Shields' gem

Chicago scores four with two outs for comeback win vs. Rangers
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Despite coming up short against Texas starter Doug Fister, the White Sox capitalized against the Rangers' bullpen in a big way.

Fister held the White Sox scoreless through seven innings, but with two out and nobody on in the eighth, Yoan Moncada sparked a four-run rally to boost Chicago to a 4-2 win. The victory snapped the White Sox five-game losing streak at home and is just their fourth win at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

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CHICAGO -- Despite coming up short against Texas starter Doug Fister, the White Sox capitalized against the Rangers' bullpen in a big way.

Fister held the White Sox scoreless through seven innings, but with two out and nobody on in the eighth, Yoan Moncada sparked a four-run rally to boost Chicago to a 4-2 win. The victory snapped the White Sox five-game losing streak at home and is just their fourth win at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

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"I'm glad we are starting to get some breaks here and there," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "At the end, they were able to put a line together and keep battling and, with a couple of walks, continue to put some runs across the board. They put a really good fight together today."

Following a ground-rule double, Moncada advanced to third on a passed ball with Yolmer Sanchez at the plate, and then scored when reliever Jose Leclerc threw away Sanchez's comebacker. After an intentional walk to Jose Abreu, Leclerc unintentionally walked Nicky Delmonico and Matt Davidson to force in the tying run, and Welington Castillo drove in the go-ahead runs with a line-drive single.

Moncada originally thought he had an inside-the-park home run, dashing completely around the bases without a throw in from the outfield. But the ball had gotten stuck under the outfield fence and he was sent back to second. Moncada finished the night with three hits, raising his batting average to .270.

"I feel that right now, I'm recognizing the pitches better than I was doing before," Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "That's helping me to swing at better pitches and put the barrel on the ball."

White Sox starter James Shields pitched his best game of the season, tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball. His only run allowed came on a soft Shin-Soo Choo single that snuck through the shift and past a diving Tim Anderson.

Video: TEX@CWS: Shields limits Rangers to 1 run and K's 8

"I felt pretty good out there, pounded the strike zone for the most part," Shields said. "Had a few more walks than I wanted to, but the pitcher did a good job on the other side, I had to keep us in the game as long as I possibly can."

Fister managed to pitch better, holding the White Sox off the scoreboard and getting several key outs on the bases. He picked off Moncada in the first and induced two double plays, including a play in the sixth when the White Sox put on the hit-and-run.

The Rangers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Nomar Mazara tripled off reliever Luis Avilan, driving in Choo from first. It ultimately proved too little with Chicago's late rally.

"It's the best when you can win a game like tonight," Moncada said. "We try to come here every day and go out there thinking that we have a shot that night to win the game. We always think that way. We try to play hard and try to do our best and win games."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Just looking, part 1: The White Sox best chance against Fister came in the third inning when Leury Garcia and Trayce Thompson reached base with one out for the top of the order. However, both Moncada and Sanchez struck out looking, preventing the White Sox from tying it up. Garcia and Thompson even conducted a double steal on the last pitch to Moncada. It was the only time Thursday night that the White Sox had multiple runners on in an inning prior to the eighth.

Just looking, part 2: Davidson has vastly improved his walk rate this season, and his eighth-inning walk showed how that has beared fruit. Davidson fell behind 0-2 to Leclerc, but worked the count back to draw the game-tying free pass.

Davidson said he likely would have struck out last year in a similar situation.

Video: TEX@CWS: Davidson ties the game in the 8th on a walk

"It's what I'm trying to accomplish and it just shows you too how many at-bats you can throw away, I guess, if you swing at balls," Davidson said. "I could easily have swung at that next pitch, the slider away, and it shows you just don't need to swing as often as we think."

SOUND SMART
Though Shields' ERA is still fairly high at 4.88, he hasn't received a lot of offensive support. The White Sox put up three runs or less while Shields pitches for his seventh consecutive start.

HE SAID IT

"We've been in a rut all season long and we haven't been playing good baseball. It's just the bottom line. We haven't been playing good baseball, so we got to pick it up. We still have a long season to go." -- Shields, on the importance of Thursday's win

UP NEXT
The White Sox continue their four-game set with the Rangers on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. CT and send Carson Fulmer (2-3, 6.23 ERA) to the mound for his eighth start. Fulmer has been largely inconsistent this season, showing some flashes of dominance. However, he's given up 10 runs (nine earned) in his last two starts in a combined 5 1/3 innings.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Chicago White Sox