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Nationals 11, White Sox 4: J.B. Shuck pitched

James Shields gets shelled in his South Side debut; Sox fall below .500 for first time in 2016

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox reached 30 losses before they reached 30 wins, which is no small feat after starting the year 23-10.

And they commemorated the ... achievement? ...  with a hallmark of an awful loss in the Robin Ventura era: A position player pitched the ninth inning.

This time it was J.B. Shuck, who gave up a leadoff double to Danny Espinosa, who came came around to score on two groundouts to short. Shuck got a third groundout to end the inning, and it was off the bat of Bryce Harper, which was kinda funny.

Not so funny? The rest of this game.

The White Sox lost their fifth in a row and 20th out of 26, and in a game that was even less competitive than the others. James Shields flopped in his White Sox debut, while Max Scherzer tossed seven shutout innings.

The White Sox bullpen tried to pick up the seven innings Shields didn't, but the wheels came off with another rough David Robertson appearance. He gave up three runs in the eighth while retiring just one of the five batters he faced, and Matt Albers had to finish the inning, setting up Shuck's pitching debut in the top of the ninth.

Dusty Baker had his own lapse in the bottom of that inning. A one-out Melky Cabrera off Shawn Kelley spoiled the shutout. Kelley then walked Jimmy Rollins, but came back to strike out Brett Lawrie for the second out.

Then Baker went to the bullpen with a 10-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning of 3½-hour game, all for a lefty-lefty matchup with Alex Avila. It didn't work, and it didn't deserve to. Oliver Perez plunked Avila with a curve to load the bases, Avisail Garcia singled two home, then Adam Eaton singled one more home before Austin Jackson grounded out to second, finally ending the game. So the Sox scored four runs and potentially righted something entering Thursday, if nothing else.

For the time being, there was nothing else. As for Shields, I can't say I have any thoughts on his performance outside of his line (2+ IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR). A Friend with a Truck helped me pick up some patio furniture. I bought dinner afterward because I was once a Friend with a Truck. As we were about to settle up, I checked the score. Then I checked Shields' line. Then I stayed for a second beer.

Previous installments:

Record: 29-30 | Box scoreHighlights