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Shields shapes White Sox shutout of Cubs

July 26, 2016

CHICAGO -- James Shields produced his sixth straight quality start and received a little offensive support from the White Sox, for a change, during a 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox swept the South Side portion of this four-game crosstown battle,

CHICAGO -- James Shields produced his sixth straight quality start and received a little offensive support from the White Sox, for a change, during a 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox swept the South Side portion of this four-game crosstown battle, doing so in front of 39,553 for their fourth straight victory, moving back to .500 at 50-50. The Cubs, who are 12-20 in their last 32 games, fell to 59-40.
Shields worked 7 2/3 brilliant innings, striking out five, walking four and allowing four hits. He had two jams to pitch out of in the second and the sixth, but otherwise, the Cubs never really pushed him. Cubs manager Joe Maddon knows Shields well, having managed him in Tampa Bay from 2006-12. He saw that Shields didn't want to come out of the game in the eighth.
Shields providing Sox with quality assurance
"I said, 'I think Shields went to John Lackey Junior College,'" Maddon said of his starter, who has a little bit of an edge. "They're very similar guys -- highly competitive, and they believe they can beat anybody on any given day."
"I was trying to get ahead in the count. I had a little more walks than I wanted to today, but that's a good team over there," Shields said. "They work the count pretty good. Joe's got them pretty much locked in as far as seeing pitches and really getting the pitch they want to hit."
Kyle Hendricks took the loss, giving up three earned runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out seven. The White Sox scored one in the first inning on José Abreu's single, added an Adam Eaton home run in the fifth and took advantage of Travis Wood's three straight walks in the sixth to force home another.

Aroldis arrives in Chicago with focus on wins
Eaton provides breathing room: Eaton's seventh home run of the season gave Shields some insurance. Eaton crushed a drive to right field on a 1-1 changeup with one out to raise the White Sox lead to 2-0.

Start me up: Hendricks had gone 22 1/3 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run before the White Sox tallied in the first inning. The right-hander needed 30 pitches to get through the opening frame, and he was lifted after throwing 97 over 5 2/3 innings. He began the day ranked third in the National League with a 2.27 ERA; it's now 2.39. The three earned runs off Hendricks were the most since June 13.

"We pitched well, but they just outpitched us today," Maddon said. More >
Welcome relief: After the White Sox battled through the eighth and ninth of Monday's victory behind Matt Albers and Dan Jennings, their usual late-inning crew returned Tuesday. Nate Jones retired Addison Russell on a grounder to third to end the eighth, and David Robertson closed out the victory with a perfect ninth for his 24th save.

"He's had a couple of those ones he'd like to forget," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Robertson, who allowed three solo homers in the ninth Sunday against Detroit. "He's really good at putting it behind him and getting after it, and tonight, with the 1-2-3, it's going to be something nice for his confidence."
Missed chances: The Cubs' best opportunity was in the second inning, when they loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Russell and a two-out walk by Miguel Montero before taking advantage of an interference call against catcher Dioner Navarro during Tommy La Stella's at-bat. But Shields got Dexter Fowler to pop up to Navarro after an eight-pitch at-bat to end the inning.

"I think we've seen [pitchers] who know what they're doing, and they've taken advantage of our youth," Maddon said. "We have to not expand the strike zone, we've been expanding a little bit against these guys. We've got to keep it in the zone. The starting pitching the last four games has forced us out of our game plan."
"They just keep playing. They're resilient. Any time you sit there and you think it's going to go the other way, they find a way to just pull together and gut it out."-- Ventura, on his team
• The White Sox had runners at first and second with one out in the third, when Justin Morneau hit a potential double-play ball to Russell. The shortstop stepped on second and threw to Anthony Rizzo at first, but the throw appeared to pull Rizzo off the bag and Morneau was called safe. After the Cubs challenged, the call was overturned, Morneau was out, and the inning over.

• With two outs in the White Sox sixth, Todd Frazier was called safe on a steal of second base, and the Cubs challenged the call. After a review, the call stood.

• The White Sox challenged a call at first base with two outs in the eighth that ruled J.B. Shuck out on an infield grounder to second baseman Javier Báez. After a review, the call was confirmed.

Kris Bryant made his Major League debut against Shields, and it was one he'd rather forget. On April 17, 2015, against the Padres, Shields struck Bryant out three times. On Tuesday, Shields did it again, and Bryant now is 1-for-10 lifetime against the right-hander with seven K's.
"You know the guys who you do well against and who you don't do well against, but I never look at the numbers," Bryant said. "Every day is different. He could be on that night, he could be off that night, you could be on that night. I look at the history and think it's more of how the pitches break, what he likes in certain counts."
Bryant at DH day after hard slide into second
By virtue of their two wins and having the trophy last year, the White Sox clinched another year with the Crosstown Cup in their possession.
"They seem to enjoy it," Ventura said.
The White Sox also completed a 4-0 stretch while wearing the throwback 1983 jerseys, which they were forced to wear Saturday after Chris Sale discarded the 1976 throwbacks. As visitors for the next eight games, the White Sox will not be able to continue to wear them.
"If we could, I think we would," Ventura said. "But we can't, so we won't."

Cubs: The intracity series now shifts to Wrigley Field for two games, starting Wednesday. Starter Jason Hammel will be happy to get back home, where the right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
White Sox:Anthony Ranaudo makes his first appearance for the White Sox, getting the start with Jacob Turner moving to the bullpen. The White Sox are 27-25 during Interleague Play at Wrigley Field.
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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.