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.