On Monday, it was just another game, featuring a 34-year-old right-hander with an ERA near six and a soon-to-be-36-year-old 300-pound left-hander with bad knees.
Who would win this battle of titans?
Fortunately for the White Sox, it was Shields, who fired six innings of two-run ball to help the South Siders to an 8-2 win over the New York Yankees.
Neither starter was on solid ground in this game. Shields put the Sox in an early 2-0 hole when he gave up a two-run homer to Chase Headley in the top of the second inning. Sabathia surrendered the lead when Tim Anderson took him deep for a two-run homer to tie the score in the third.
The game remained tied at 2 at the halfway point, and there was a definite feeling that both teams should have had more runs.
The Sox got two men on in the first inning, but didn't score. They loaded the bases with one out in the third after Anderson's homer, but couldn't tack on any runs. They stranded a man at third in the fourth.
The Yankees had runners at second and third with one out in the fourth, but couldn't cash in. They got a runner to second base with one out as the result of two Sox errors in the fifth, but failed to score.
This came down to which pitcher was going to crack the third time through the batting order, and it was Sabathia. The Sox touched him up for three runs in the fifth. Brett Lawrie's sacrifice fly scored Todd Frazier, who had doubled, and Dioner Navarro's two-run homer put the Sox ahead, 5-2.
Shields once again walked the tightrope in the sixth inning, but the Yankees failed to score after placing runners at first and third. The Sox right-hander escaped that situation by getting Aaron Hicks to fly out to right field.
Shields' final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 Ks, 2 BBs, 1 HR. That was good enough for his second win in a Sox uniform.
The Sox tacked on one in the seventh and two in the eighth. Four Sox relievers combined for three innings of scoreless relief, and for a change, David Robertson's services were not needed to close out a victory.
Dan Jennings allowed two base runners in the top of the ninth, but finished off the six-run win in comfortable fashion.
The Sox enter Tuesday's play having won 10 of their past 14 games.