Royals shut down by White Sox 5-1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — James Shields pitched well. Chris Sale pitched better.
Sale gave up four singles in eight scoreless innings as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Sunday.
Shields (0-1) went seven and allowed one run.
"Today was a tough day," Shields said. "You’ve got another pitcher on the other side that is pretty good. Anytime he’s on his game, he’s pretty tough to beat. I tried to go toe-to-toe with him. Me and Dave (Eiland, pitching coach) worked on my delivery in my last bullpen session and got everything locked in. I started throwing my curveball for strikes today, which I was pretty pleased with. For the most part, just staying aggressive and trusting my stuff."
Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers each drove in a pair of runs as the White Sox won the series finale after dropping the first two games.
Sale (2-0) struck out six and walked one. In his previous four starts against the Royals, the White Sox had backed him with one run, enough to beat Shields 1-0 in the 2012 opener.
Shields gave five hits, striking out six, walking none and hitting two batters.
Ramirez’s drove in the game’s first run in the seventh when Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar knocked down his grounder but had no play for Conor Gillaspie at home.
"I made a good pitch on Ramirez right there and he kind of hit it up the middle," Shields said. "We had shaded toward the six-hole right there."
Sale allowed a runner past second only in the third inning, when Lorenzo Cain and Omar Infante singled and Ramirez committed a throwing error. Sale wiggled out of trouble by retiring Danny Valencia on a pop up. Cain had two of the hits off Sale.
"He’s a tough pitcher," Cain said. "You try to scratch out a run anyway you can but we couldn’t. You always want to be the guy to drive in a few runs but none of us did it today."
Royals manager Ned Yost thought Shields threw as well as he been since he was traded to Kansas City before last season.
"What we saw out there today was two No. 1 starters that were at the top of their game," Yost said. "Both of them had their A-game on the mound. That’s as good of stuff as I’ve seen James Shields have. He had everything working, his fastball at 94-95, a great cutter, a great change, a great curveball.
"Sale was right there with him. He has everything going. Both starters just pitched a great game, both of them."
The White Sox scored four runs in the ninth off Royals left-handed relievers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno. The inning included a Flowers’ two-run single and an RBI double by Ramirez. Collins walked two of the four batters he faced and was charged with three runs.
Alex Gordon singled home Eric Hosmer in the ninth off Matt Lindstrom for the only Kansas City run.
The Royals won their first replay challenge of the season when Marcus Semien was ruled safe at first, but it was overturned on a review that took 68 seconds. White Sox manager Robin Ventura challenged that Hosmer was out at first to complete a double play in the sixth, but replays indicated he was safe.
Plate umpire Greg Gibson issued a warning to both benches in the sixth when Infante had to jump out of the way of Sale’s pitch way inside after Shields had hit two batters, including Jose Abreu in the top of the inning.
"I’m not trying to hit Abreu right there, there’s no doubt it," Shields said. "We’ve got a zero-zero ball game. I’m not trying to put a runner on base. There was definitely no intent. I understand they are trying to protect their players over there, but in that situation I’m not trying to hit him. I don’t think there’s any reason for any retaliation at all."
NOTES: White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, has been shut down after one game from a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham, still feeling tenderness when he swings. . The White Sox starting lineup Saturday included four Cuban-born players: C Adrian Nieto, RF Dayan Viciedo, SS Alexei Ramirez and Abreu. The last team to start four Cubans were the Indians on April 8, 1969 — SS Zolio Versalles, RHP Luis Tiant, CF Jose Cardenal and C Joe Azcue. .The Royals will start LHP Jason Vargas against Tampa Bay on Monday, while the Rays’ probable is LHP Matt Moore. .The White Sox will start RHP Felipe Paulino for the series opener at Colorado. RHP Jordan Lyles will be the Rockies starter.