Shields turns in another solid start

After rough beginning to White Sox career, righty may be 'over the hump'

Shields turns in another solid start

CHICAGO -- It wasn't the outcome they needed, but there was another glimmer of good news on Thursday night for the White Sox, despite their rain-shortened 2-1 loss to the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field.

James Shields took the loss, allowing two runs in six innings on a pair of solo home runs, but the veteran right-hander tossed another solid outing. Shields is now 2-3 with a 2.09 ERA in his past five starts, holding opponents to a .220 batting average. After struggling mightily following the June trade that brought him to Chicago, Shields now looks like the innings-eater the White Sox sought when they acquired him from the Padres.

"He seems over the hump," manager Robin Ventura said. "When you talk to him, you know, those first games were tough. I think he came here, [had] a lot of expectations and got beat around a little bit, and it was tough to get your feet and take a breath and kind of figure it out. And right now, he's back to the guy that we figured we were getting."

Between May 31 and June 23, Shields went 0-3 with an 18.73 ERA in five starts. He allowed 37 hits, including seven home runs, during that stretch. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his past six outings.

This loss, however, stung for Shields and the White Sox, who've lost seven of their past eight games. Shields paid for allowing homers to Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning, erasing the White Sox's 1-0 lead and ultimately leading to the defeat.

"Sometimes doing your job isn't going to get the job done," Shields said. "I thought I made a pretty decent pitch to Kinsler, he put a good swing on it, got it up in the air. The one thing to Miguel Cabrera is the one I'm not really happy about, just because I was throwing my changeup down in the zone all day pretty effectively and left that one up."

Adding more frustration for Chicago was a storm that ended the game after the Tigers batted in the seventh. The game was delayed two hours and five minutes before it was called.

"That's a game you don't want to lose and especially after a rain delay," Shields said. "Some of the games we played on this last road trip didn't go our way, and we wanted to come out here this first game of the homestand and start off well. But unfortunately the rain gods got us a little bit. We've just got to keep grinding it out."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.