PHILADELPHIA — The White Sox displayed plenty of desire on Tuesday night. It was the execution they lacked.
Facing the downtrodden Philadelphia Phillies, the White Sox nearly salvaged one of their worst games in weeks with a ninth-inning rally before falling 7-6 in front of 16,096 at Citizens Bank Park. James Shields dropped to 5-18 on the season as he surrendered seven runs and the White Sox lost their fourth straight and fell to 72-79.
“It was kind of on and off,” Shields said. “The first inning I thought the guy swung on the check swing. I ended up walking him and gave up a homer. I made some pretty good pitches that I thought actually were going to hit the dirt, and they just got some hits on me and strung together a couple hits when they needed to.
“But I have to do a better job of getting some outs there early.”
Aside from Melky Cabrera’s go-ahead, three-run home run in the third inning, little else went right for the White Sox until the ninth when they scored three times off Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez. Adam Eaton’s two-out, two-run double brought the go-ahead run to the plate and knocked Gomez out of the game. Michael Mariot retired Tim Anderson on a grounder to shortstop to end the contest.
But the White Sox found themselves with a big hole that was just too much to overcome.
Coming off a pair of solid efforts, Shields struggled early and often against the fourth-place Phillies. He surrendered a two-run homer to Odubel Herrera in the first inning and allowed two more in the third inning to fall behind for good.
Shields gave up three straight hits and a run to start the fifth inning before he pitched out of the jam. And he yielded two more runs as he was knocked out of the game in the sixth.
Shields allowed nine hits, walked three and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings. It was the eighth time this season he has allowed at least seven runs, which is the most since Cory Lidle in 2003, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
But Shields wasn’t alone.
One of his runs was unearned after Anderson misplayed a two-out grounder into an error in the third inning.
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The White Sox offense wasn’t much better as they couldn’t solve Jake Thompson and four Phillies relievers.
Thompson allowed four hits and three runs in five innings.
The White Sox grounded into inning ending double plays in the fifth and seventh inning.
And they ran into a pair of outs on the bases. Omar Narvaez was thrown out rounding third base on Tyler Saladino’s single to end the sixth inning. Leury Garcia was thrown out stealing second base after leading off the seventh inning with a walk and the White Sox trailing by four runs.
“We had some opportunities there even in the middle to get back into it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We just put them in situations where first and third, just stealing a base, things like that. I think their speed really came into play for a lot of it and couldn’t hold them off. Offensively, we just kept chipping away and getting to a point. Even the last inning there you bring up the tying run, but we’ve got to be able to hold them. That’s the biggest thing.”