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James Shields gets early support, carries White Sox to victory

Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez hit back-to-back home runs to get the Sox offense going, and right-hander James Shields pitched seven strong innings to win for the first time since Opening Day in the White Sox’ 5-1 victory over the Indians Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox (23-42) hadn’t homered in their previous six games, but Moncada and Sanchez quickly halted that trend when they connected against right-hander Adam Plutko in the first. Matt Davidson drilled the first of his two RBI doubles off the fence in the first inning, and catcher Omar Narvaez also doubled in a run to give Shields a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Shields (2-7, 4.63 ERA) allowed one run in one of his best outings of the season. He gave up four hits, walked none, struck out two and surpassed the 2,500 innings mark for his career. He went six innings or more for the 10th start in a row.

“Still is able to work 91-92 [mph],” manager Rick Renteria said. “Just continues to attack the strike zone and he had a really good idea of how he wants to go after hitters. He continues to show everybody he can pitch.”

James Shields delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Chicago. (AP)

“He doesn’t have the same stuff that he once had, so he’s learned how to be a pitcher, to live on the corners, to get guys to hit off his pitches and he’s done a good job with it,” Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “He did a great job tonight and as a team we need to make an adjustment faster to that, we gotta not be chasing those types of pitches. We didn’t make the adjustment fast enough.”

Left-hander Jace Fry pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Nate Jones, Xavier Cedeno and Joakim Soria (ninth save) worked through some trouble in the ninth as the Sox bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings.

The back-to-back homers by Moncada (his ninth) and Sanchez (fourth) marked the fourth time the Sox turned the trick this season. Moncada led off with a homer for the fourth time.

The Sox have won five of their last eight games and seven of 12. They defeated the Indians for the first time in five games in 2018.

“I feel like I’ve been pitching really well for the most part this season,” Shields said. “But wins haven’t come my way. We’ve won some games while I’ve been in there so that’s been good, but at the end of the day, you want to get the win for the team.”