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Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

2015 Eight-Man All-Star rosters -2/11/2015, 11:54 AM

Indiana State backcourt thrives with new characters -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Scott City rolls over TMP -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Jayhawks cruise past Texas Tech -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Kansas State braces for Mountaineers' full-court press -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
Shields masters Rays

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Shields masters Rays

Published on -7/8/2014, 9:46 AM

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By Andy McCullough

McClatchy-Tribune

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- He had twirled shutouts on this surface and spilled champagne on its fringes, but never before had James Shields stood atop the Tropicana Field mound wearing the road grays of the Royals.

At 7:14 p.m. Monday, Shields scooped a baseball off the AstroTurf and paced a semi-circle. He toed the rubber with his size-12.5 cleats.

For the next two hours of a 6-0 victory, his greatest obstacle was not the Rays. It was not his own faulty mechanics these last two months. It was merely remembering after each of his seven scoreless innings to turn right, toward the visitors' dugout, rather than into the dugout he had called home for seven seasons.

"Luckily," Shields said, "we've got jerseys to help me with that."

He required no further assistance. The stars aligned in a fashion that felt cliched enough to be fiction. In his first start back at this ballpark, Shields, 9-4, appeared reborn, authored his best performance in two months and reminded everyone why his current club mortgaged such vital assets for him in the first place.

Shields operated with precise fastball command, which allowed his offspeed pitches to torment. He fooled with change-ups and flummoxed with curveballs. The result was 10 strikeouts, his most since April 22 in Cleveland, and three hits allowed, his fewest since April 27 in Baltimore.

"He was back to being James Shields," manager Ned Yost said.

Added third baseman Mike Moustakas, "That's the Shields that we're used to seeing."

For Shields, April was divine. The subsequent weeks have been torture. One night cannot erase two months of discontent, but Shields altered the conversation about his wayward performance via a seven-inning dissection.

The offense benefited from a trio of two-run rallies, three-hit nights from Alex Gordon and Omar Infante, and two-hit evenings from Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer.

The storylines overflowed on Monday. Shields dueled with Jake Odorizzi, a secondary piece in the trade that delivered Shields to Kansas City.

With outfielder Wil Myers nursing a broken wrist, Odorizzi is Tampa Bay's only current on-field addition from the deal. He struck out eight and took the loss.

When the day began, the Royals hoped Shields would bask in his homecoming. Tropicana Field is forgiving to pitchers. It is also the locale of his first baseball family.

"This is where he grew up," pitching coach Dave Eiland said.

Shields entered the visitors' clubhouse at 3:50 p.m. on Monday, with a snapback cap on his head and a pair of oversized headphones around his neck. An hour later he still wore his street clothes. His teammates emptied onto the diamond, leaving Shields alone in a foreign room in a familiar building.

"Walking by the home clubhouse is probably the weirdest thing," Shields said later. "I'm so used to going into the home clubhouse here."

During the last few weeks, Shields only partially resembled his former self, thanks to a 5.66 ERA in his last eight starts. At his peak, he dispatched opponents in expedient fashion. He could end at-bats with ease. A critical weapon in his arsenal was his change-up, an 85-mph jitterbug that induced weak contact.

Eiland has harped on this issue for weeks with Shields. When he watched Shields, Eiland saw a pitcher trying to manipulate his pitches too much and place too much movement on them. The result was a breakdown in mechanics.

When Shields threw his change-up, his arm dragged and he telegraphed the delivery to hitters.

The change-up regained its deception on Monday, and formed a devastating weapon once more. He fanned Matt Joyce with one in the first inning, and struck out Logan Forsythe on a foul tip with another in the second.

Shields balanced on a tightrope for much of the third inning. A one-out double by Kevin Kiermaier rattled his equilibrium. A two-out walk to Ben Zobrist placed runners at the corners. But Shields steadied himself and locked up Joyce with a 93-mph fastball at the knees for his third strikeout.

"When he's on like that, that's a tough at-bat," Moustakas said. "Especially when he's throwing all 12 of his pitches for strikes."

Granted a two-run lead heading into the third inning, Shields opened up his arsenal. He began to abuse his former teammates with his knuckle curve. He picked up four more strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings.

The last involved a pair of inside fastballs to push Kiermaier off the plate. Shields finished the at-bat with a backdoor cutter. Kiermaier only connected with the air. Shields maintained his stoicism as he stomped into the dugout.

"He pitched very aggressively away, in," Yost said. "Good cutter. Good change-up. Ahead in the count. I just thought he pitched great."

The seventh inning was Shields' last, and it began in foreboding fashion. Shields plunked Evan Longoria with a curveball. The tying run stood at the plate. Three men represented that run. All three were set down with ease.

James Loney popped up to right. Another change-up missed the bat of Forsythe for another strikeout. Shields avoided the barrel of Sean Rodriguez, and collected a ground-out. It was clinical end to a triumphant homecoming.

The Royals pounded out four runs against Tampa Bay reliever Juan Carlos Ovideo and removed stress from the final two innings.

Shields last pitched here on Oct. 2, 2012. He struck out 15 Orioles in a complete game, but still dropped a 1-0 decision. He believes that game was the finest of his career.

The result Monday night was far more heartening.

"It's a little sweeter," he said. "It's a little sweeter to come back here and get a win."

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