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Davidson's late HR sends White Sox past Rays

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Matt Davidson had already left runners stranded in scoring position twice on Wednesday by looking at called third strikes. But when he got a final chance -- with the White Sox facing the possibility of yet another one-run loss -- Davidson was determined to flip what had been a frustrating script for himself and his teammates.

Davidson came through in the eighth inning, hitting a go-ahead, two-run home run to deliver a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The win snapped the White Sox five-game losing streak and helped them avoid their first 0-6 start at home since 1948. The homer, off Rays reliever Austin Pruitt, came after the White Sox had squandered a pair of prime scoring chances in the sixth and seventh innings.

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CHICAGO -- Matt Davidson had already left runners stranded in scoring position twice on Wednesday by looking at called third strikes. But when he got a final chance -- with the White Sox facing the possibility of yet another one-run loss -- Davidson was determined to flip what had been a frustrating script for himself and his teammates.

Davidson came through in the eighth inning, hitting a go-ahead, two-run home run to deliver a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The win snapped the White Sox five-game losing streak and helped them avoid their first 0-6 start at home since 1948. The homer, off Rays reliever Austin Pruitt, came after the White Sox had squandered a pair of prime scoring chances in the sixth and seventh innings.

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"[I] came up in some big spots and didn't produce," said Davidson, who leads the American League with five homers. "I think that's kind of been the theme of the homestand. We got in positions to capitalize, and we just didn't do it. So I think we've all been pretty frustrated. And to come up like that and win the game, it's huge."

Video: TB@CWS: Davidson on his homer, White Sox win at home

Added Pruitt: "Just left a changeup up over the plate and he hit it."

The White Sox won despite leaving nine runners on base, leaving them 17-for-104 with runners in scoring position this season. The White Sox have left 45 runners on base over their past five games, but still managed to improve to 3-3 in one-run games. Wednesday's win came at a good time, before the club heads off on a seven-game road trip beginning Thursday against the Twins.

"There's ups and downs, and the downs were definitely this home series," Davidson said. "But we'll move on. I'm excited to get to Minnesota and keep this thing going."

White Sox starter James Shields overcame two shaky innings early on against his former team, when he walked five but avoided allowing a run. Shields escaped a jam in the second inning when he got Mallex Smith caught up in a rundown.

Video: TB@CWS: Shields picks off Smith at third base

Shields settled in thereafter, allowing just one run on a C.J. Cron double in the fifth before departing after 6 1/3 innings. Shields gave up four hits and struck out six. Bruce Rondon picked up the win in relief and Nate Jones earned his first save.

Video: TB@CWS: Jones locks down the save with groundout

"We definitely needed a win right there, no doubt," Shields said. "Especially going on the road. But we've been fighting. We've been fighting all the way until the end. We're going to string some wins together here soon and it's a good way to end the homestand."

Video: TB@CWS: Shields limits Rays to four hits, K's six

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cron ends drought: After the Rays stranded six runners over the first three innings, Cron lined a two-out RBI double over the head of White Sox center fielder Adam Engel to snap a scoreless tie in the fifth inning.

Pickoff move: After White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez reached third on a pair of errors by Rays left fielder Smith in the seventh inning, catcher Jesus Sucre picked Narvaez off third base after he had wandered dangerously far off of the bag. The White Sox also failed to score a runner from third with less than two outs in in the sixth inning.

Video: TB@CWS: Narvaez reaches third base on pair of errors

Afterward, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said the White Sox had a play on in which Yoan Moncada was to lay down a bunt to score Narvaez from third, but "pulled back" when he saw Narvaez coming.

"Everybody has an assignment and his is to complete that," Renteria said. "If the runner from third isn't doing what he's supposed to we'll take care of that later. He still has to do his job. He understands, he knew."

Video: TB@CWS: Sucre picks off Narvaez at third base

QUOTABLE
Everybody that does anything -- from tiddlywinks to marbles or anything -- when you win, it feels good. It was nice, the way they came back and did what they did." -- Renteria

Video: TB@CWS: Renteria on comeback win against Rays

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Though he struggled with his command early, Shields ultimately induced 15 swinging strikes on his 100 pitches. Nine of those 15 came on the curveball. Shields' effort stood in stark contrast with his previous two starts, in which he notched only 12 swinging strikes combined.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the fourth inning, Tim Anderson reached base with two outs after singling to right field. With Narvaez batting, Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos threw over to first to check on Anderson. First-base umpire Cory Blaser ruled Anderson safe, but the Rays challenged and the replay conclusively showed him out. After a review of 1 minute and 16 seconds, the call was overturned and the fourth inning ended.

Video: TB@CWS: Rays challenge call on pickoff attempt

WHAT'S NEXT
The White Sox kick off a seven-game road trip on Thursday against the Twins with first pitch coming at 7:10 CT at Target Field. Right-hander Lucas Giolito looks to get things on track after struggling with his command in surrendering eight runs and seven walks over 11 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago who covered the White Sox on Wednesday.

Yonny Chirinos, C.J. Cron, Matt Davidson, Nate Jones, Bruce Rondon, James Shields