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Phillies 7, White Sox 6: James Shields loses 18th

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Late rally can’t get embattled starter off the hook

Chicago White Sox v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

A White Sox starter labored for the third consecutive game. At least it’s to be expected from James Shields?

These are the straws for which we grasp, as a return to interleague play failed to suit the Sox any better. A three-run homer gave the White Sox the briefest of leads in the fourth, but Shields gave up seven runs (six earned) over his 5⅓ innings. That was one run too many, as the White Sox only could rally for three in the ninth when they needed four.

The Sox made a snoozer interesting. Facing Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez down 7-3, Todd Frazier led off with a single. Gomez came back to get the next two batters, but Leury Garcia shot a single off Gomez’s person to keep the inning alive.

That comebacker may have rattled Gomez, because he walked pinch-hitting Justin Morneau, including a wild pitch on ball four that allowed Frazier to score. Adam Eaton followed with a double to left center that scored both runners and cut Philadelphia’s lead to one, and Gomez created a save situation when there wasn’t one before.

Michael Mariot benefited. He came in to face Tim Anderson, got ahead 0-2 with a pair of curves, then induced a routine grounder to short to hand the Sox their fourth consecutive loss.

Shields ended up with his 18th loss, giving him a legitimate shot at 20. He found trouble three batters in, as he issued a one-out walk before Odubel Herrera hit a two-run homer for a quick 2-0 lead.

Shields bounced back with a 1-2-3 second and the Sox stung Jake Thompson for three runs, all with two outs. Tim Anderson doubled, Jose Abreu walked and Melky Cabrera hit his 12th homer out to right field.

But it didn't take long for the 3-2 lead to evaporate. The Phillies answered with their own two-out rally, as Tommy Joseph doubled in the tying run, and a Tim Anderson error on a sharp grounder allowed the go-ahead run to score. The Phillies tacked on another run in the fifth and two more in the sixth with hits and stolen bases.

The Sox couldn’t find a second wind soon enough. They didn’t help their own cause, grounding into two double plays and losing two runners on the basepaths. Omar Narvaez ran into the final out at third base trying to go from first to third on a Tyler Saladino infield single, and Garcia was caught stealing in the seventh.

Bullet points:

*Shields did collect a hit in the form of a swinging bunt single that stopped 25 feet or so up the third base line, inside the chalk.

*The bullpen continues to post zeroes. Michael Ynoa stranded a Shields runner while recording the last two outs of the sixth, followed by scoreless innings from Juan Minaya and Matt Albers.

Record: 72-79 | Box score | Highlights