Kansas City Royals' James Shields delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS) -- James Shields turned and gave a salute after striking out Pablo Sandoval to end his four-hitter, the Kansas City Royals' sixth straight victory, 5-0 over San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
''I was just saluting the bullpen, man,'' Shields said. ''They've done a phenomenal job for us, saving our behinds all year long. It's nice to give them a day off. It just a nice little salute to the bullpen, tell them to take a day.''
Alex Gordon homered for the Royals, who have won nine of 10 to move with 1 1-2 games of AL Central-leading Detroit. The Royals, who have not made the playoffs since beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series, are in second place in the AL wild card standings.
Shields (11-6) gave up three singles in the first four innings. He allowed only two Giants to reach second base. He walked Joe Panik in the fifth and he moved to second on a wild pitch with two outs, but was stranded. Panik doubled in the eighth.
''He's got good stuff,'' said Buster Posey, who went 0 for 4 and struck out once against Shields. ''That's about it. He's been good for a while.''
It was Shields' ninth career shutout, his first since Sept. 9, 2012.
Tim Hudson (8-9) gave up the home run to Gordon to lead off the fifth inning on Nebraska Night at Kauffman Stadium. Gordon is a Lincoln, Nebraska native and was the college player of the year in 2005 as a junior with the Cornhuskers. Was it a coincidence Gordon homered on Nebraska Night?
''I go deep all the time. What are you talking about?'' Gordon deadpanned before laughing. ''It was a good crowd. It just energized all the players. It added excitement and energy. There was a lot of (Nebraska) red tonight, so that was good to see.''
Hudson yielded three straight hits to start the four-run seventh and was replaced by Jeremy Affeldt. The inning included Mike Moustakas' run-producing double while Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jarrod Dyson had RBI-singles.
Hudson was charged with three runs and six hits in six-plus innings. Affeldt, who had held the opposition scoreless in his previous 13 outings, faced four batters and gave up two runs and three hits.
''They're playing very well,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the Royals. ''When you play good teams you have to play your best ball. Last night we let it get away. Tonight we just ran into a well-pitched game.''