Walking the bases loaded in the top of the first inning isn’t the best way to begin a pitchers’ duel, but that’s what happened with White Sox starter Lucas Giolito on Thursday afternoon.
Giolito worked out of the early jam and flirted with a no-hitter before faltering, and the Sox eventually fell to the Twins 2-1 in 13 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field. The loss snapped the Sox’ three-game winning streak, but as is the norm during their continuing rebuild, the focus afterward was on the positive. This time, it was the performance of Giolito, who allowed just one run — the fewest in his 16 starts this season.
“The first inning was a little interesting,” Giolito said. “Honestly, I just didn’t have my rhythm there until the last batter of the inning. I started to get my rhythm going, and from there just worked well with [catcher Kevan Smith]. They put a lot of balls in play, [and] the defense was great behind me [with] a few really nice plays.”
After getting out of the first unscathed despite the three walks, Giolito settled in and went toe-to-toe with Twins starter Jake Odorizzi. Giolito mowed down 14 consecutive hitters before Eddie Rosario ripped a double with one out in the sixth for the Twins’ first hit. Meanwhile, Odorizzi was shutting down the Sox, limiting them to three hits in six innings.
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Logan Morrison broke the deadlock with a towering, 440-foot home run off Giolito to lead off the seventh, but the Sox tied it against closer Fernando Rodney when Daniel Palka drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Twins came out on top in the 13th when Sox reliever Hector Santiago walked Max Kepler with the bases loaded.
Though Giolito was long gone by the time the game was decided, he said he can build off his performance as he tries to develop some consistency.
“I’m starting to throw the ball a lot better — I feel like it’s coming better out of my hand,” said Giolito, who lowered his ERA to 6.59. “My confidence in myself and my abilities have never really been questioned. Now that I’m starting to put some better results out there, it definitely makes me feel good, and it makes me want the ball more. I’m looking forward to my next one in five days.”
Manager Rick Renteria was pleased with Giolito’s effort.
“I thought Lucas threw the ball well,” Renteria said. “He did a nice job of getting out of that big jam he got in early, worked through it and then settled down. One pitch that got him [was] the Morrison homer, and that’s about it.”
The Sox finished their home-stand 4-3 and were set to head off on a 10-day road trip on a fairly positive note.
“These guys are putting some good efforts together, [and] stringing them together is big,” Renteria said. “It allows us to understand there is a reason why we’re here. The reality is that it’s about these young men performing and doing what they need to do in order to give our team a chance to win.”