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Lopez finishes strong for White Sox; Giolito, not so much

MINNEAPOLIS — As springboards go, right-hander Reynaldo Lopez’s last six starts were about as good as they get.

Righty Lucas Giolito’s last three were about as bad as they can be.

Lopez, who put the finishing touch on his first full season by holding the Twins to two runs in six innings in a 2-1 loss Friday afternoon, went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last six starts. His strikeout rate increased (41 in 40 innings) down the stretch, and he finished with a 3.91 ERA in 188 2/3 innings.

“I’m leaving this season in a much better way than how I entered the season,’’ Lopez said. “I learned a lot. I know how to handle game situations better, how to execute, how to attack the hitters, how to control emotions. Overall, it was a good season for me.”

Chicago White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez throws against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning in the first game of a baseball doubleheader Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Giolito’s ended like it began, when he couldn’t find the plate and faced a possible demotion to Class AAA Charlotte. After allowing four hits in a three-run first, he walked the first four batters he faced in the second and was knocked out by Robbie Grossman’s opposite-field ground single to left, lasting 1„ innings. He exited with an American League-high 90 walks, second in the majors to the Cubs’ Tyler Chatwood.

Giolito will take a 6.13 ERA into next season after getting tagged for seven earned runs. He allowed five hits and had four walks and two wild pitches. Giolito had one quality start in five September outings and posted a 9.27 ERA in his final month.

“Tonight it just imploded,” Giolito said. “The second inning just got out of control. It just sucks because it’s probably my last outing of the year. It’s not the way I wanted to go out. Obviously, I have some things to work on for next year.’’

Lopez, on the other hand, finished with a flourish. It stemmed from a heart-to-heart talk with himself after his last start in July.

“I was struggling,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘I took a moment, and I said to myself, ‘Hey, there are still two months to go; you need to do better.’ I remember my ERA. I don’t remember exactly what was happening, but I just gained more focus, and I started executing the plan better and attacking hitters.’’

Lopez touched 98 mph and used his four-seam fastball up and down in the zone.

“Nice finish for Lopez,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Got out of that jam late, worked through it. He has certainly grown. He has made huge strides in his development.’’

Avisail Garcia lifted late

Avisail Garcia, who is having knee surgery Tuesday, did not run hard on a ball off the right-field wall in the eighth inning, settling for a single. He was replaced by Ryan Cordell in the bottom of the inning, but Renteria said it was not a benching for not running hard.

“Just his knee,’’ Renteria said. “He won’t play in the second game; his knee is bothering him. . . . I’m OK with it.’’

Quality in

Lopez finished with 19 quality starts, tying him with James Shields for the team lead. Lopez and Shields are among 18 pitchers in the majors with 19 or more. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lead with 28.