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