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Bats show spark, but unable to bail out Shields

MLB.com @scottmerkin

HOUSTON -- James Shields was not happy following Houston's 12-6 victory over his White Sox on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

The veteran right-hander allowed a season-high eight earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in falling to 3-10 overall. He made some good pitches that got hit, with Houston taking full advantage of the short-porch Crawford Boxes in left. Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run homer there in the third inning on a pitch Shields said was out of the zone and hit one-handed.

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HOUSTON -- James Shields was not happy following Houston's 12-6 victory over his White Sox on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

The veteran right-hander allowed a season-high eight earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in falling to 3-10 overall. He made some good pitches that got hit, with Houston taking full advantage of the short-porch Crawford Boxes in left. Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run homer there in the third inning on a pitch Shields said was out of the zone and hit one-handed.

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Some of his pitches that missed the mark also got hit, with Alex Bregman's two-run drive in the sixth serving as a prime example. But Shields was really bothered by not working deeper into the game, departing at 5 2/3 innings after lasting at least six innings in 13 of 14 previous starts.

"I felt good," Shields said. "Overall this season, I've felt pretty strong late in the game. If I have to go 120 or 130 pitches, I'm in and ready to go.

"I'm just not happy about not going deep in the game. I'm trying to save this bullpen. These guys are taxed and I really wanted the ball and to be that guy to go deeper into the game."

Video: CWS@HOU: Shields fans Tucker to end the 5th

Omar Narvaez's two-out, three-run double capped a four-run White Sox sixth off of Houston starter Charlie Morton, cutting the Astros' advantage to 6-5. White Sox manager Rick Renteria tried to get one more inning out of Shields, who entered the sixth at 89 pitches, but the right-hander fell one out short when Bregman connected on the 2-0 pitch.

Shields struck out George Springer in the at-bat prior and felt as if he made a good pitch two batters earlier to Marwin Gonzalez, but Gonzalez hooked it down the right-field line for a double.

"The boys came back and scored for me," said Shields, who had a season-high nine strikeouts. "I left a pitch over the middle of the plate to Bregman, and you can't do that to that guy. He's a hot hitter right now."

"We wanted to get him through six and get us what I thought would be an opportunity to give some of these other [bullpen] guys a breath, to be honest," Renteria said. "And then we ended up still using them anyway. It didn't work out the way we had hoped and planned."

Saturday's loss dropped the White Sox to 30-59 and 0-6 against the Astros. They have been outscored, 54-15, by the defending champs, a clear-cut example of the difference between a great team and a team like the White Sox, hoping to get to that level through a rebuild.

"Nobody likes to walk away the way we're walking away right now," Renteria said. "But I'm certainly very optimistic and hopeful that we, as an organization, and the men in that room, are going to gain some knowledge and experience that's going to put them in a better place moving forward.

"It wasn't too long ago that [the Astros] were doing the same thing. But we also have to continue to try and improve and do the best we can do."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Welcome to the show, kid: Kyle Tucker, the No. 8 prospect overall, per MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut Saturday, but Shields wouldn't allow it to be a completely successful opener for the left-handed hitter. Shields struck out Tucker looking once, and swinging twice, in his first three at-bats. Tucker picked up his first big league hit in the seventh on a line drive off off Bruce Rondon that deflected off of Matt Davidson's glove at first, and his first RBI in the eighth via a bases-loaded walk.

Video: CWS@HOU: Tucker singles to notch first MLB hit

SOUND SMART
Yoan Moncada's two hits in five at-bats leave him at 10-for-32 for the month of July and give him a six-game hitting streak.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Avisail Garcia homered in the eighth inning, putting him at nine overall, five since Monday and eight in his last 12 games. Those five home runs have covered 1,997 feet, including Saturday's 419-foot blast, per Statcast™.

"I feel good at the plate. I'm making adjustments and I have more experience now," Garcia said. "The more experience you have, the more relaxed you'll be. You have to be patient and be positive. It's a hard game."

Video: CWS@HOU: Garcia belts a mammoth homer to left

HE SAID IT
"You have to be positive. You have to keep working hard every single day to try to play the game right and do the little things the winning teams do. It's going to take time, it's a process. You have to be patient." -- Garcia, on the White Sox

UP NEXT
The White Sox 10-game road trip concludes Sunday with a 1:10 p.m. CT finale against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Lucas Giolito (5-7, 6.93 ERA) is scheduled to make his 18th start of 2018, ninth on the road and second vs. Houston. He has gone 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA, .289 opponents average, 1.67 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in his last eight starts. Dallas Keuchel takes the mound for the Astros.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Omar Narvaez, James Shields