By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — These certainly aren’t the results the White Sox brass expected when they traded for right-hander James “Big Game” Shields.READ MORE: Assessing The Damage: Tornado That Ripped Through DuPage County Classified As EF-3
Through two starts in Chicago, Shields’ composite stats are ugly: seven innings, 13 earned runs, 17 hits and six walks with just three strikeouts. After an awful debut with the White Sox resulted in a blowout loss last, Shields struggled again Monday, but this time his teammates bailed him out. Down seven runs, the White Sox rallied for a 10-9 win in 12 innings against the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field.
It was a huge win for Chicago and a mulligan for Shields, who allowed seven runs, six earned, in five innings on nine hits and four walks.
The stuff Shields has displayed in his last three starts has been poor. In was also bombed in his last start with the Padres, allowing 10 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, so the trouble has become a trend. On Monday, it was too many pitches catching too much of the plate.
“Right now it appears he is not commanding the zone as well as he would like to,” said White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria, who directed the last four-plus innings after manager Robin Ventura was ejected. “He is falling behind and has to come in more center cut. They are taking advantage of it. Even through all of that, he gave us five innings. He continued to grind and tried to get through it.”
Renteria took over in the eighth inning when Ventura was tossed for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Mark Carlson. Not too long after, the White Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send it to extra innings, where an Adam Eaton walk-off RBI single won it in the 12th.
For Shields, the redemption of a no-decision, was much appreciated after a second bad outing to begin his White Sox career.READ MORE: Driver Ticketed After Girl, 11, Is Hit By SUV In Norwood Park
“That was something special to watch,” Shields said. “Ever since I walked into this clubhouse, these guys have wanted it. The vibe in here has been amazing. These guys really wanted it. To come out on top was really special.”
Shields has allowed a major league-high 46 home runs since the beginning of 2015. It’s baffled him, and he knows he needs to get the problem fixed.
“I guess surprised would be the word,” Shields said. “I just have to continue to work and get better. I am obviously going through a little (bad) stretch. I feel the last three innings, I can build off of and go from there.”
Eaton ended it with a worm-burner up the middle that scored JB Shuck with the winning run. Batting second for the first time all season, Eaton produced by going 4-of-5 with a walk, two runs and two RBIs.
“This win is huge,” Eaton said. “To claw back the way we did, especially in the ninth, was a huge win for our team. We can hopefully hop on this wave and ride it a little bit.”
It was Eaton’s third career walk-off hit. The White Sox (32-32) climbed back to .500 with the win and trail the division-leading Indians by 3.5 games.
“To get a walk-off hit in any setting is huge,” Eaton said. “The way we had been playing, it was even bigger. The struggles we have had, they are not fun. I know the fans are upset and we are too. We don’t want to lose. This is a breath of fresh air for us. In all facets of the game, it’s a good team win.”MORE NEWS: 2 People Shot, Killed In Woodlawn
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.