James Shields notches fourth shutout in win over Royals

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James Shields beat the Royals 4-0 in one hour, 53 minutes on Tuesday night, notching his fourth shutout of the season.

The six-hitter was the fastest nine-inning contest in Rays franchise history.

Shields moved into a tie with the Rangers’ Derek Holland for the most shutouts in the AL this year.  Cliff Lee is the major league leader with five.

It was also Shields’ major league-best eighth complete game of the year.  Roy Halladay is second with six, while Lee is the only other pitcher with five.

Of course, this year is shaping up as a banner year for shutouts.  Shields and Holland have already matched the high total for an AL starter since 2000.  Lee has matched the high total for any pitcher the last 20 years.  The last pitcher to record more than five shutouts in a season was Randy Johnson, who had six with the Mariners and Astros in 1998.

Even last season, the supposed “year of the pitcher,” saw just two AL pitchers record multiple shutouts: Dallas Braden and Carl Pavano finished with two shutouts apiece.  Halladay led the majors with four.

With eight complete games, Shields also has a pretty good shot at becoming the first pitcher to reach double figures since Johnson finished with 12 in 1999.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.