HOUSTON — Composure is king for Lucas Giolito.
Manager Rick Renteria gave the young right-hander high marks for being poised and in control before Giolito turned in his latest good outing in the White Sox’ 3-1 loss Tuesday to the American League West champion Astros. Giolito touched on it, too, after he held the Astros to two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
It was the sixth start in a Sox uniform for Giolito, who hasn’t looked bad since making his first start Aug. 22. His ERA stands at 2.58, and it’s a sparkling 1.95 in his last five outings.
‘‘Over the course of this season, I’ve really started to take pride in solid composure on the mound at all times, especially in big situations,’’ said Giolito, who spent most of the year at Class AAA Charlotte. ‘‘Having confidence in a pitch I’m about to throw, executing my next pitch, I worked on that in Triple-A all year and have been able to come up here and get an opportunity to show I’ll stay composed in any situation.’’
Giolito struck out three Astros and walked one after pitching 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in his previous start against the Royals. In each of them, his stuff wasn’t at its best, but he kept it together.
‘‘It’s similar to the last game, one of those grinder games,’’ he said. ‘‘I was having a lot of trouble getting the ball to my extension side with the slider and the fastball, and that came back to bite me a couple of times.’’
All in all, though, he’s in a good place with two weeks left in the regular season. Last season, he had a 6.75 ERA in six appearances (four starts) with the Nationals.
‘‘I’d say it just feels more normal, being in the big leagues, pitching every five days, getting my routine down, then just going out and competing,’’ Giolito said.
Watching Giolito during a second stretch after his first look-see in spring training, Renteria said he was sent to Charlotte ‘‘to clean up his
delivery, attack the strike zone, be able to execute a game plan.’’
So far, so good.
‘‘He’s a bright young man,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘That part of it was probably the easiest part, understanding what he needed to do against particular hitters.’’
Facing the Astros in their first game since they clinched the West title Sunday, the Sox gave Giolito a 1-0 lead in the third, when Yoan Moncada (3-for-4) singled with two outs against right-hander Collin McHugh, stole second and scored on Jose Abreu’s double to left. The RBI was Abreu’s 98th.
MVP candidate Jose Altuve, leading the majors with a .348 batting average, clubbed his 24th home run in a two-run fourth, which also featured an RBI double by third baseman Alex Bregman.
Giolito then pitched a perfect fifth and got an assist from catcher Kevan Smith, who threw out Josh Reddick trying to steal from one knee in a scoreless sixth. After Yuli Gurriel doubled with two outs in the seventh on Giolito’s 100th pitch (he threw 64 strikes), Renteria went to his bullpen. The Astros added a run in the seventh and got four innings of one-hit ball from their bullpen.
Giolito is the son of an actress and Hollywood producer, and Warren Frost, his late grandfather, was known for roles on ‘‘Seinfeld’’ and ‘‘Twin Peaks.’’ So it’s no surprise Giolito carries himself easily in the spotlight.
‘‘He’s funny, bright and kind of witty for a 23-year-old,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘His demeanor, all across the board. And then when he gets on the mound, he’s a great competitor. He’s very focused. He doesn’t deviate from that. He’s relaxed, but he has an idea of what he wants to do on the mound.’’
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