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Phillies 5, White Sox 3: James Shields not improved enough

Struggling veteran falls short of a quality start, while offense falls short of a quality night

David Banks/Getty Images

The last time James Shields started, he was rocked into a disaster zone by an umimpressive Oakland Athletics lineup while Kendall Graveman threw a Maddux.

By those standards, tonight was more watchable. That’s a relative victory for the James Shields Experience.

Facing a lineup that looked overwhelmed by Carlos Rodon the night before, Shields came within an out of throwing a quality start, which qualifies as his best start of the month by far. His peripherals were also healthier, as he allowed seven hits and an HBP while striking out six.

Alas, he gave up a pair of solo shots, and when the balls stayed in the park, his defense couldn’t bail him out. Perhaps a better outfield alignment keeps the game scoreless through two, but instead Shields gave up a pair of runs, as Aaron Altherr dropped an RBI single in front of a sliding Avisail Garcia, and Freddy Galvis’ RBI double scored Altherr from first because Adam Eaton took a direct line to the alley in vain. Three two-out hits gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead, and the homers in the third and sixth innings gave them the extra runs they needed.

On the other side of the ball, the White Sox initially found Jerad Eickhoff just as challenging as Graveman. Even though Eickhoff struggled to find strike one, he faced the minimum over the first five innings, allowing an Eaton single in the fourth and immediately erasing him on a double play. He ran into problems in the sixth, though, as Avisail Garcia led off with a single, and Dioner Navarro followed with a homer to right, cutting Philadelphia’s lead in half.

But they couldn’t sustain another scoring threat until the ninth inning. Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to seven games with a one-out single off Jeanmar Gomez, who walked Todd Frazier with no good reason two batters later to bring the tying run to the plate. Garcia couldn’t tie it himself, but he made it a 5-3 game by shooting a single to right, giving Navarro another chance to deliver heroics. He couldn’t summon the strength twice in one game, though, instead grounding out to second for the split.

Record: 60-65 | Box score | Highlights