PHILADELPHIA – James Shields continues to struggle through an up and down season — mostly down.
The Philadelphia Phillies jumped on the White Sox’ 34-year-old right-hander with Odubel Herrera’s 15th homer in the first inning and kept on pecking away, knocking him around for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings Tuesday in a 7-6 victory.
It took Shields (5-18, 5.98 ERA) 106 pitches to get through it.
Shields struggled but the Sox did not play a clean game behind him, either. Shortstop Tim Anderson was charged with an error on a liner off his glove, and couldn’t run down what looked like a catchable foul ball despite a long run. First baseman Jose Abreu allowed a ball to scoot under his glove for a base hit and left fielder Melky Cabrera let a ball fall in front of him for a hit after getting a late jump.
“These guys play hard and sometimes they make spectacular plays so I don’t get upset when that happens,’’ Shields said. “I needed to make better pitches.’’
Offensively, catcher Omar Narvaez was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base on an infield single and Leury Garcia was throw out stealing for the first out of the seventh when the Sox were trailing by four runs.
Adam Eaton’s two-run double in a three-run ninth against Jeanmar Gomez put the tying run in scoring position but Anderson grounded to short against Michael Mariot (first save).
The Sox (72-79) lost for the fourth straight time. The Phillies improved to 68-83.
Cabrera had gone hitless in his last two games, so he was due. Cabrera, who hit a three-run homer in the third inning against Phils right-hander Jake Thompson, had gone without a hit for three straight games once — from May 28-30.
Cabrera has 12 homers and 76 RBI and is batting .296.
The National League game
The Sox fell to 9-10 in interleague play this season. Their 200-162 record all-time (46-51 under manager Robin Ventura) is the fourth-best in baseball behind the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels.
Ventura, who played in the NL with the Dodgers and Mets, learned to like the NL game because
“it was a fun thing for your team that everybody was involved … I like how the roster gets used a little bit more.’’