By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Make it four straight wins for the White Sox and two in a row in their crosstown series with the Cubs.READ MORE: 2 Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Rockton's Chemtool Plant
White Sox right-hander James Shields lived up to his nickname Tuesday evening, tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings to lead his team to a 3-0 win at U.S. Cellular Field.
“Big game, big game James ” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “This was the guy we were thinking of when we got him. He came up big tonight. He takes a lot of pride in keeping the bullpen fresh. He loves to go deep in games. This was one where we needed it. He came through for us.”
After the White Sox acquired Shields from the Padres in early June, he was awful in his first three starts, allowing 21 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. Lately, Shields has returned to his old self, as someone who can dominate an offense with a fastball and straight change-up alone. He’s had six consecutive quality starts now.
“He was really good,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, under whom Shields played in Tampa Bay.
“We had him going into the fourth inning, because he didn’t have it going on early. He righted himself and took over.”
Shields had the Cubs’ big hitters off-balance all evening, striking out five while allowing four hits and walking four.
“You don’t see a right-handed guy with a good change-up that often,” said Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.READ MORE: With Areas Of Naperville Devastated By Tornado, Neighbors Band Together A Night Later To Help Each Other
“Usually you see the fastball-slider guy. As time goes on, we will probably see more of those guys. Hopefully I will have better at-bats.”
Shields’ turnaround has been significant, as he has a 1.71 ERA over his past six starts.
“I was attacking the hitters.” Shields said of Tuesday’s outing. “You have to be careful with a good hitting team like them.”
Shields has throwing strikes early and attacking the four quadrants of the zone.
“There really isn’t that much of a difference than when I pitched earlier,” Shields said. “Just better fastball command and getting ahead of hitters.”
Shields outpitched Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who gave up three runs, two on poorly located change-ups, in 5 2/3 innings. White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton had a solo homer in the fifth inning.
For his part, Hendricks gave Shields the credit.
“That guy on the other side was pretty good today,” Hendricks said. “I was watching him in the clubhouse after I came out. He was hitting spots, mixing speeds.I t was kind of fun to watch. Of course you never like it against your guys. You still have to appreciate it. ”MORE NEWS: Man Fatally Shot While Working On Car In Front Of His Fernwood Home
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.