CHICAGO -- James Shields stopped talking about his miserable 2016 White Sox debut season early on in Spring Training. In the White Sox 11-2 shellacking of the Tigers on Thursday, Shields' pitching helped put '16 even further in the rearview mirror.The right-hander walked five over 5 1/3 innings but allowed
CHICAGO -- James Shields stopped talking about his miserable 2016 White Sox debut season early on in Spring Training. In the White Sox 11-2 shellacking of the Tigers on Thursday, Shields' pitching helped put '16 even further in the rearview mirror.
The right-hander walked five over 5 1/3 innings but allowed just one run on two hits. He struck out five in helping the White Sox gain their first win of the season and the first win for Rick Renteria as manager on the South Side.
"I was actually a little erratic to be honest with you, but I kept them off-balance when I could and got a few popups today when we needed it," said Shields, who earned his first win against Detroit since Sept. 10, 2014. "And the boys scored some runs for me."
It was the White Sox offense, though, leading the way. Geovany Soto homered twice and Matt Davidson launched a three-run homer in his season debut, while also scoring three runs and adding a triple. Matthew Boyd struggled mightily in his season debut, yielding five runs in 2 1/3 innings, on five hits and four walks. He threw 80 pitches during that time.
"He just looked out of whack," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I don't know if it was rust or not, but he didn't look the same."
Anibal Sanchez replaced Boyd and didn't perform much better. The right-hander allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings.
"That was good to see all the guys come out like that," Soto said. "First W of the year definitely feels really good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Soto stays fair: Boyd clearly was trying to go inside on Soto with two on and one out in the third inning. But his last attempt was not inside enough, albeit not a horrible pitch, as Soto connected for a three-run blast by keeping the ball fair down the left-field line in his season debut. Soto's drive on a 1-2 pitch, an 83.8-mph cutter, turned a 2-1 game into a 5-1 advantage. Soto's second homer, coming in the seventh, was his fifth longest in the Statcast™ era, at 417 feet.
"I'm here to do anything they want me to do," Soto said. "I'm here to play. I'm here to win. I'm riding it out. Anything they want me to do, I'll do. I'm here to work."
Bunting safety:Jacob May has two RBIs in two games played this season but has yet to get his first hit. His second RBI came in the second inning Thursday on a safety squeeze that brought home Davidson. May laid down a well-placed bunt, but a good throw by Boyd to catcher James McCann might have nabbed Davidson. Instead, Boyd threw wildly for an error and set up the inning's second run.
"I just rushed it," Boyd said. "I had an opportunity to get him there and I just rushed it, probably had another half-second to make a better throw than what I did. "
"I'm very excited. I'm very happy that it's in the books, but for me, the biggest thing had to do more with me watching them play and seeing the things they were doing. You're looking at all the situations they put themselves in, the at-bats they had. We turned quite a few double plays today when we needed to and had some good at-bats. Just the way they played the game today was most impressive for me." -- Renteria, on getting his first win as White Sox manager
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Cabrera has gone hitless through his first two games of a season for the first time in his career, according to research on baseball-reference.com.
The Tigers gained an out and eventually saved a run when replay showed Avisail Garcia did not beat Nicholas Castellanos' throw to the bag on Garcia's ground ball leading off the second inning. It was the first replay challenge of the season for the Tigers, overturning the initial ruling after a review. Five of Chicago's next six batters reached base safely.
Tigers:Michael Fulmer begins his sophomore season with the Tigers' home opener, facing the Red Sox on Friday in a 1:10 p.m. ET start at what is expected to be a chilly Comerica Park.
White Sox:Derek Holland makes his White Sox debut Friday against the Twins, in the opener of a three-game weekend set. The left-hander also takes the mound for the White Sox first night game of the 2017 season, with a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch.
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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.