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White Sox 8, Marlins 7: James Shields pitches, Sox win anyway

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Right-hander continues to look like a toxic asset, but the bullpen holds Miami at bay while the offense comes back

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The White Sox jumped on Marlins starter Adam Conley and had a 4-0 lead by the top of the second inning. Of course, no lead is safe with James Shields on the mound, and he unraveled once again. But the bullpen gave the hitters a chance to win it, and they took that opportunity―even if they needed help from the Marlins.

After Justin Morneau roped a pinch-hit double to tie the game in the eighth, the White Sox couldn't do anything with runners at second and third and nobody out. Adam Eaton and Tyler Saladino both hit shallow fly balls, and Melky Cabrera struck out on a curveball in the dirt. However, that curveball got past catcher J.T. Realmuto, and Dioner Navarro came home from third to score the eventual winning run.

The offense was in a position to grab the lead (or have it handed to them) because of the strong work of the bullpen. Shields allowed seven earned runs in three-plus innings, but Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, Chris Beck, Nate Jones, and David Robertson combined to hold the Marlins scoreless through the final six.

That three-plus by Shields was brutal once again. In the third, with the Sox leading 4-1, he gave up a leadoff hit to the pitcher Conley, and Dee Gordon reached when Jose Abreu fumbled the ball trying to get the force at second. Martin Prado then crushed a three-run homer to tie the game, Christian Yelich doubled, and Realmuto cashed him in with a two-out single for the lead.

Then, after Jason Coats tied the game with his first major league home run, Robin Ventura let Shields bat for himself in the top of the fourth inning. Shields went back to the mound, and Ventura let him load the bases with nobody out, then replaced him with Albers, who had to face Yelich, Stanton, and Marcell Ozuna.

Albers struck out Yelich, but Stanton roped a two-run single to put the Marlins back ahead 7-5. After Ozuna grounded into a double play, the book was closed on Shields: 3+ IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 0 K, and a game score of 3.

The Sox scratched across a run in the top of the sixth when Eaton hit a bases-loaded tapper and Tim Anderson beat the force at home (after review). After the Sox took the lead in the eighth, the Marlins didn't pose any serious threats until the end. With two outs in the ninth, Stanton blooped a single into right field and Eaton threw him out trying to stretch it into a double. It was Eaton's 17th outfield assist of the year, extending his major league lead, and a fittingly bizarre ending to a bizarre game.

Chris Sale goes to the mound tomorrow against Tom Koehler. A win would give the Sox the sweep and make it six straight wins against the Marlins dating back to 2013.

Game Notes

  • In Shields' three-plus innings of work, he allowed 19 balls in play. The average exit velocity of those 19 balls was 91 miles per hour, and six of them were over 100 (including a groundout by Stanton at 116).
  • Shields has a 20.25 ERA in his last three starts, and a 7.34 ERA since joining the Sox.
  • Tim Anderson stole third base in the seventh, and Coats trailed him for the rare White Sox double steal.
  • Jose Abreu's son Dariel was once again in attendance for today's game. His daddy was 1-for-5 with an RBI double in the first.