HOUSTON — Right-hander James Shields prides himself on going deep into games, but he couldn’t do it Saturday against the defending World Series champion Astros, even after the White Sox scored four runs in the sixth inning to get back into a game they eventually lost 12-6.
After the Sox (30-59) had cut a 6-1 deficit to 6-5, the Astros ushered Shields out of the game with a two-run home run by Alex Bregman into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
The Sox, who fell to 2-7 on their road trip, will try to avoid a four-game sweep Sunday, when struggling right-hander Lucas Giolito opposes Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
Win or lose, they got a good look at how far they have to go to be where they want to be.
‘‘It may not be working out right now, but I think these guys are getting a sense and a feel for what it is and what it takes,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘It wasn’t too long ago that [the Astros] were doing the same thing [rebuilding].’’
Shields (3-10) left the game after allowing season highs in earned runs (eight) and hits (10) and striking out a season-high nine in 5 2/3 innings. He also served up a three-run homer to Yuli Gurriel in the third.
‘‘I made some good pitches they hit,’’ Shields said. “Even [Gurriel], he had a one-handed swing on ball probably below the zone.’’
Shields entered the game 2-3 with a 2.01 ERA in his last five starts.
‘‘I’m just not happy about not going deep in the game,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m trying to save this bullpen.’’
Garcia’s HR tear continues
Right fielder Avisail Garcia homered again, his eighth-inning blast against Ken Giles disappearing 419 feet away into the glassy backdrop beyond left field. It was his fifth homer since Monday and eighth in his last 12 games.
‘‘I’m making adjustments, and I have more experience now,’’ Garcia said. ‘‘The more experience you have, the more relaxed you’ll be. You have to be patient and be positive.’’
Garcia had one homer in his first 22 games.
Catchers swinging it
Omar Narvaez’s three-run double in the sixth and single in the ninth continued the run of offense the Sox have enjoyed from the catching tandem of him and Kevan Smith.
The Sox have missed Welington Castillo’s throwing arm since he was suspended May 24 for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, but Smith and Narvaez are hitting a combined .358 since June 1.
Through Friday, Narvaez (first, .393) and Smith (second, .324) led all major-league catchers with a minimum of 60 plate appearances in batting average since June 1.
Abreu to learn All-Star fate
Jose Abreu, who will learn Sunday if he’s going to the All-Star Game, has maintained a voting lead among American League first basemen despite a rough six weeks.
Abreu, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Saturday, is 1-for-16 in his last six games and is batting .181 with three homers since May 27.