Nats hit 3 HRs in Shields' ugly debut, rout White Sox 11-4
CHICAGO (AP) The first hint of boos came after James Shields walked the game's second batter. They gained intensity after each of the three home runs and reached their peak after he was yanked in the third inning.
The Chicago White Sox's big addition couldn't stop their stunning slide.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer in the first to set the tone in Shields' miserable White Sox debut, Max Scherzer threw seven scoreless innings and the Washington Nationals routed reeling Chicago 11-4 on Wednesday night.
''You never want to come into a new team and expect to do that,'' Shields said
Zimmerman's homer in a four-run first inning was followed by consecutive shots by Stephen Drew and Danny Espinosa to lead off the second.
Everyone in the Nationals lineup reached base safely at least once in two-plus innings off Shields (2-8), who couldn't command his fastball and gave up seven runs and eight hits in his first start since being acquired from San Diego.
''I didn't give them a chance,'' Shields said.
Instead of jump-starting a club once 23-10, Shields failed to get out of the third inning for the second straight start. The White Sox lost for the 20th time in 26 games to fall under .500 for the first time.
''Maybe he came in here pressing to try to impress,'' Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. ''We know he's going to pitch better, but the first inning probably got to him somewhat.''
Scherzer (7-4) allowed five hits for the Nationals, who have scored at least 10 runs in three straight games.
Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer off David Robertson in the eighth as the Nationals pounced on Shields for their seventh win in nine games.
''We scored early and that was big,'' Washington manager Dusty Baker said. ''Shields wasn't that sharp today. He threw a bunch of pitches early and we capitalized on it.''
Shields, who helped Tampa Bay and Kansas City reach the World Series in recent years, has fallen on hard times since signing a four-year, $75 million deal with San Diego before last season.
Padres executive Ron Fowler called his performance ''an embarrassment'' after he allowed 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings last week. He was traded to the White Sox four days later, and had command issues again.
Zimmerman crushed a belt-high 90 mph fastball to left in the first, before the lefty-hitting Drew and Espinosa pulled off-speed pitches.
''It seemed like everyone was comfortable and seeing his ball well,'' said Ben Revere, one of four Nationals with three hits.
The crowd cheered sarcastically when Shields struck out Bryce Harper after four straight hits in the second. Fans jeered when Shields was yanked after Anthony Rendon's leadoff single in the third.
Scherzer retired the first nine batters, struck out six and walked one. The White Sox scored four in the ninth to avoid being shut out.
''We haven't had a whole bunch of games like this when I haven't had to manage much,'' Baker said. ''It's the kind of games that you like.''
Nationals: RHP Matt Belisle (calf) remained on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse despite an overworked bullpen. ''We didn't even talk about (bringing in another arm),'' Baker said.
White Sox: RHP Zach Putnam (elbow soreness) replaced Shields and allowed two hits in the third inning. An MRI cleared Putnam after he was unavailable for two games.
HARPER SLIPS, SHINES
Harper dropped to second behind Cubs OF Dexter Fowler in the latest All-Star fan voting on a busy night. He pushed a bunt toward third for a hit against the shift in the first, threw out Jimmy Rollins at the plate from right field to end the fifth, doubled in the sixth and finished 3 for 6.
POSITION PLAYER PITCHING
White Sox OF J.B. Shuck, who pitched at Ohio State, allowed a run in the ninth in his big league pitching debut. He gave up one of Washington's 18 hits.
CATCH A DRAFT
The White Sox hold the 10th and 26th picks and the Nationals have the 28th and 29th selections in Thursday's draft.
''One of our big things this year is we want to start getting more true baseball players in our system,'' said Nick Hostetler, Chicago's director of amateur scouting.
White Sox RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 3.93 ERA) replaces Carlos Rodon (neck) in the series finale Thursday night. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-4, 3.94) starts for the Nationals.