Complete dominance: Rays’ Shields throws 9 innings in 2-1 win over ChiSox

Big Ben got aboard with a one-out single and was tripled home by Sean-Rod to retake the one-run lead.

Shields must have gotten fired up seeing his team go to bat for him — is that even considered a pun? Jimbo responded by striking out the side in the top of the sixth. Shields — who allowed the 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 9 and walking just 1 in his complete game — got Pierre looking, Gordon Beckham swinging and big bat Adam Dunn looking for a quick 1-2-3 frame.

“That was a dominating kind of performance,” said Maddon. “Everything was working—stuff-wise, location-wise, and he stayed in his delivery the entire game.”

Big Game James stayed pumped for the rest of the game, with a 1-2-3 seventh and eighth inning. Give Kelly Shoppach the assist on that; Shields opened the seventh by hitting Paul Konerko with a pitch but the Rays catcher gunned him down after Shields got Quentin swinging for the strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out double play.


Shields was so keyed in he hit 95 m.p.h. in the top of the ninth, a velocity he doesn’t throw with great frequency. He got he made sure Adam was Dunn, down swinging for out no. 2 and put the “K” in Konerko to put this one in the books.

“That’s just straight adrenaline,” Shields said. “I don’t remember the last time I hit 95.”

“Tip your hat to James Shields,” Danks said after the game. “There is no other thing to say. I made a couple of mistakes that I would like to take back, but I would take seven innings, two runs and I like our chances.”

Offensively, there was nothing else worth noting; when Shields has a game like he did Monday, not much is needed in the way of run support. Zobrist and Rodriguez each went 2-for-4 and Casey Kotchman was 2-for-3 at the plate.

With the victory Monday night, the Rays have won 7 of their last 8 games and 8 of their last 11, all of which have come in the post-Manny era. Clearly Manny was not what was wrong with this team in the opening week but the correlation just speaks to how dead-on Maddon was when he called Ramirez’s departure a galvanizing moment for the team.

Next on the agenda: these same Chicago White Sox. RHP Wade Davis (2-1, 3.26) takes the hill for the Rays, facing off against RHP Phil Humber (1-1, 3.46). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.

Follow Kevin Tall on Twitter: @KevinTall

For the second time in as many evenings, Tampa Bay Rays fans witnessed an impressive win based on masterful starting pitching.

In the case of Tuesday night’s 2-1 triumph over the Chicago White Sox, it wasn’t just limited to starting pitching; James Shields took the hill and served as his own closer, pitching his first complete game since June 10, 2008.

The Rays got to Chicago starter John Danks early; Ben Zobrist picked up a one-out triple in the home half of the first inning. Sean Rodriguez took a pitch from Danks on the hip for a free pass, giving Tampa Bay runners on the corners. Felipe Lopez grounded into a 4-3 force at first but Zobrist was able to score on the play for the early 1-0 lead.

Juan Pierre of the White Sox must be getting awful tired of those highlight-reel catches in right field coming at the expense of his batting average. With Alexei Ramirez aboard with a walk, Matt Joyce made a do-or-dive in the top of the third to rob Chicago’s left fielder of an easy base hit and perhaps save a run.

“The defense has been great and we have to be that team,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to play that kind of defense consistently.”

After the first inning, this one stayed quiet until the fifth. Carlos Quentin led off with a double for Chicago, giving the White Sox their first legitimate scoring threat of the series. The pesky A.J. Pierzynksi wasn’t about to let that go; his one-out base hit scored Quentin to tie it up.

Tampa Bay had an answer for that one, though, with Zobrist and Rodriguez factoring in again.

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