CHICAGO -- James Shields had been the subject of trade speculation heading into Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but 3 p.m. CT came and went, and Shields was still in Chicago. So he started against the Royals, illustrating what he could provide to an interested team during the August waiver trading
CHICAGO -- James Shields had been the subject of trade speculation heading into Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but 3 p.m. CT came and went, and Shields was still in Chicago. So he started against the Royals, illustrating what he could provide to an interested team during the August waiver trading period.
Shields worked efficiently through seven innings and 104 pitches, with his only mistakes coming on two two-run homers that ultimately sunk the White Sox in a 4-2 loss at Guaranteed Rate Field. Shields has now thrown at least six innings in 17 of his last 19 starts, and has completed seven frames in eight outings.
"I've said it before, I only can control what I can control," Shields said when asked about the deadline. "But at the end of the day, I'm always focused. I thought my mechanics were really good. I had a few walks that cost me there today. But I'm just focused on pitching for this squad right now and doing my part."
Early on, Shields looked to be on his best game, retiring the first 10 Royals he faced. Even the first hit he allowed -- an Alex Gordon fourth-inning single -- was a soft grounder poked away from the over-shifted infield.
That dominance was matched by Royals starter Danny Duffy, however, who held the White Sox scoreless through 5 2/3 innings. The White Sox had multiple opportunities to cash in early, but left two men on in the second and stranded the bases loaded in the fourth.
"I hung two pitches tonight and it cost me four runs," Shields said. "You can't really let up that many runs and expect to win ballgames. I gotta do a better job of bearing down right there.
"I don't like losing," Shields added. "I'm out there trying to win every ballgame I can so unfortunately I have to pitch better. That's the bottom line. I've got 13 losses on the year. I'm not too happy about it. I just have to pitch better."
Shields was not the only White Sox frustrated during Tuesday's game. In the sixth inning with a potential rally brewing, Tim Anderson did not run out a live ball, thinking he'd lined out to the third baseman. Anderson ended up being the third out of the inning and manager Rick Renteria pulled him to start the seventh.
"He had a lapse in that particular instance because he recognized something that he thought was clearly an out," Renteria said. "But we know how we're supposed to go about it and we're going to continue to do it and it's not going to change."
Matt Davidson, the Royals' tormentor all season, homered for the eighth time against Kansas City this season in the seventh inning. The two-run blast tied the franchise mark for most homers in one season against the Royals, joining Albert Belle in 1998 and Jose Valentin in 2003.
Overall, the White Sox had 10 hits Tuesday night but left 13 men on base.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Close but no cigar: The White Sox again had a solid opportunity to cash in on early-inning hits in the eighth, when Adam Engel and Yolmer Sanchez led off with consecutive singles. Engel ended up on third after stealing second with Sanchez up, but Omar Narvaez, Nicky Delmonico and Leury Garcia could not drive in a run. Narvaez struck out swinging, Delmonico fouled out, and Garcia struck out on a foul tip.
In addition to his eight home runs against the Royals this season, Davidson is batting .432 (16-for-37) with two doubles and 14 RBIs when playing Kansas City.
HE SAID IT
"I feel good right now. My delivery is about as good as it has been all year over the last few weeks here. I had a little hiccup in Anaheim. Overall, it has been pretty good and my body feels really good. I'm hoping to finish strong here," --Shields, on getting stronger as the season has progressed
The White Sox continue their three-game series with the Royals on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Dylan Covey (4-6, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago looking to rebound from a tough start. Covey allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings last time out against the Angels. Jakob Junis (5-11, 5.06) goes for Kansas City.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.