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If this were Hollywood, the story of this start would’ve given James Shields a star turn.
Shields had just lost the White Sox’ previous game, giving up a walk-off single in the 14th inning after Rick Renteria used the entire bullpen. Given that he threw 28 pitches and Lucas Giolito could be moved up a day and still pitch on regular rest, it wasn’t a given that Shields would make tonight’s start as schedule.
Shields came to front of plane Wed and told Ricky "I got Friday."
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) April 20, 2018
With this as the backstory, it would’ve been beautiful if he somehow outdueled Justin Verlander to end the Sox’ three-game losing streak.
Instead, it went the more predictable route — a 10-0 drubbing to open the series.
Shields hung with Verlander through three, but the Astros started finding real estate down the lines and ended up hanging a five-spot on the White Sox. George Springer tacked on three of those runs with a Little League home run, made possible when Tim Anderson’s relay throw home clipped Marwin Gonzalez and caromed well off the path Shields had backed up.
That sealed the game, as Verlander held the Sox hitless into the fifth inning, and three Astros relievers combined to preserve the two-hitter.
The question from that point was how many more outs Shields could eat, and he only had four more in him. His night ended after a one-out double, yielding two runners to Danny Farquhar. Farquhar allowed both of those runs to score on a Springer two-run double, and then Carlos Correa homered to hit to make it a 9-0 game.
That was all Farquhar could provide, because he fainted in the dugout after the inning. Paramedics carried him out of the clubhouse and he was transported to a hospital.
Update on Danny Farquhar: pic.twitter.com/DvRSHz9AxZ
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 21, 2018
Despite the emergency, the White Sox were able to preserve order in their bullpen through creative means. Aaron Bummer retired all five batters he faced, going three outs longer than his previous high this season.
And two days after Shields finished the game Carson Fulmer started, Rick Renteria had Fulmer return the favor. He handled the last inning and a third. Over that time, he gave up a no-doubter to Correa, a nubbed single to Yuli Gurriel and a double to Alex Bregman, but he also recorded three strikeouts. More importantly, he threw 18 of 24 pitches for strikes when his primary assignment was to throw them.
The pitching side was far more eventful for the White Sox than their hitting. Tim Anderson broke up the no-hitter in the fifth with a palpable single through the left side. He tried stealing on a 3-0 count, but Omar Narvaez walked. He then tried getting a Lance Johnson jump, but Verlander thwarted it. Anderson beat the rundown back to second, but Narvaez (correctly) advanced to second while Anderson was in the pickle, so Anderson’s TOOTBLAN was put on his tab.
Jose Abreu, who made strong contact all night, contributed an infield single in the sixth. It was smoked at Bregman, who knocked it down but couldn’t recover in time for a timely throw to first.
*Trayce Thompson got back into action in his first game, replacing Avisail Garcia in right in the ninth inning and popping out to third.
*Garcia had an opportunity to draw his first walk of the season, but he swung at a not particularly competitive pitch in the dirt for strike three. He also committed an error in right field, giving up a base on a bobble during the five-run fourth.
Record: 4-12 | Box score