- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - New closer Aroldis Chapman never came close to making his Cubs debut on a difficult first day in Chicago.

The Cubs managed only four singles off James Shields and two relievers, wasting a solid pitching performance by Kyle Hendricks in a 3-0 loss to the rival White Sox on Tuesday night in Chicago’s crosstown rivalry.

“They just out-pitched us today. That’s pretty much it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We did a lot of good things, but we didn’t score any runs.”

Chapman remained in the bullpen hours after he joined the team and struggled answering questions related to an altercation last year with his girlfriend.

Chapman arrived after being acquired from the New York Yankees and got questions from reporters about his offseason domestic violence incident and ensuing 29-game suspension. Chapman said he couldn’t recall a conversation with Cubs personnel about off-field conduct that Chicago described in a release when it announced the trade.



President of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the Spanish-speaking Chapman did not understand the reporters’ questions, adding that Chapman was “pretty nervous” and insisting the closer understands what the Cubs expect.

“Understand, this kid comes from Cuba, doesn’t speak the language very well,” Maddon said. “Even through an interpreter, it’s easy to misunderstand and, even furthermore, maybe he didn’t want to relate what had been said.”

Adam Eaton homered and the White Sox stayed unbeaten since ace Chris Sale’s suspension for cutting up throwback jerseys.

When Sale destroyed the 1976-style jerseys before his scheduled start Saturday, the White Sox had to put on their 1983 uniforms after Sale was sent home. They’ve won four straight in those white jerseys while Sale serves a five-day suspension.

“Can’t wear them tomorrow,” manager Robin Ventura said, noting they’ll have to put on visiting dark jerseys as the series shifts to Wrigley Field. “If we could, I think we would.”

The Cubs had no extra-base hits. Kris Bryant was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and has fanned seven times in 10 at-bats against Shields.

“Good changeup,” Bryant said. “I thought I had some pretty good at-bats but he just figured it out.”

Shields (5-12) struck out five and continued an impressive turnaround from a terrible first three starts after being acquired from San Diego last month.

“This is the guy we were thinking of when we got him,” Ventura said.

Nate Jones finished the eighth and David Robertson worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save as the White Sox (50-50) returned to .500.

Jose Abreu had two hits, including an RBI single in the first off Hendricks (9-7) that ended his streak of 22 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

Eaton added a solo homer in the fifth on a day where both teams faced off-field issues.

Minutes after Chapman’s strange interaction with the media, Ventura asserted he can work with Sale despite the ace’s critical comments of the manager for not sticking up for him when he was suspended for the collared jerseys he objected to.

Shields, who allowed 22 runs in his first three starts with the White Sox, walked four. He got Dexter Fowler to pop out with the bases loaded to end the second and worked out of another jam in the sixth.

Hendricks struck out seven and exited after Todd Frazier’s two-out bloop single in the sixth. Travis Wood entered and walked three straight batters to force in a run.

“I thought Kyle was outstanding,” Maddon said. “Leadoff walk scores, homer scores and Travis was uncharacteristically wild.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Maddon said OF Jorge Soler (left hamstring) needs nine or 10 more at-bats at Triple-A Iowa before he’ll return. … Bryant was the DH, but not because of any injuries during a head-first slide into second base a night earlier. “It’ll be nice to get off my feet a little bit,” he said. “After (the slide), I felt fine.”

UP NEXT

The Cubs host the final two games of the series, with RHP Jason Hammel (9-5, 3.35 ERA) to start Wednesday night. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 17.18), acquired from Texas in a May trade, will make his White Sox debut.

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