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James Shields sharp, but Sox’ offense fails to deliver in loss to Mariners

Tim Anderson can't field the ball as the Mariners' Kyle Seager steals second base in the sixth inning in Seattle. Getty Images

SEATTLE — James Shields allowed one earned run, seven hits and struck out five in seven innings, but the White Sox lost 3-1 to the Mariners on Friday. Wade LeBlanc and two relievers combined on a five-hitter for the Mariners.

“Again, tremendous outing by James,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He kept us in there, gives us seven innings of great pitching. He went through a couple pieces of traffic, but otherwise he did a very nice job. What he’s been doing for us this season, his record does not reflect his performance. He’s been throwing the ball very, very well.”

LeBlanc (6-1) gave the Mariners 7⅓ strong innings in the team’s first game after the All-Star break. LeBlanc surrendered two hits in the first, including Daniel Palka’s RBI double to center field, but allowed only two hits and a walk in his next 6⅓ innings. He finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts.

“He was working all quadrants, Renteria said. “He was speeding you up, slowing you down. He was executing very, very well. I had him a few years ago. He’s pitching the same way: very effective, very confident, knows what to do. When he gets into any kind of trouble, he’s very calm and continues to execute. When he commands that change-up and uses that fast ball, he commands the zone. That’s what he did tonight.”

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Sox slugger Yoan Moncada was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, but he also had two walks.

“This kid’s got a really good eye. I hope his at bats continue to pan out and all that are involved in watching him work from an umpiring perspective that this kid really does have a good eye,” Renteria said. “He’s as patient as anybody, he’s got one of the best eyes I’ve seen. He’s not a guy that’s complaining to anybody. He’s taking his lumps. People ought to take a look at how he controls the strike zone and take that into account.”

Seattle answered the Sox’ early run in the bottom of the first. Dee Gordon, who went 4- for-4, singled to lead off the game against Shields (4-11) and scored on Nelson Cruz’s sacrifice fly.

The Mariners took the lead in the fourth. Kyle Seager hit a one-out, ground-rule double and advanced to third on Denard Span’s single. Ryon Healy followed with a hard grounder that bounced off third baseman Yolmer Sanchez’s glove, allowing Seager to score on the fielder’s choice.

Reliever Alex Colome finished off a scoreless eighth, and Cruz singled in a run in the bottom of that inning to give Seattle a two-run lead. Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, pitching for the first time since blowing a save but getting the win for the American League in the All-Star Game, pitched a scoreless ninth for his league-leading 37th save.

Daryl Van Schouwen contributing