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No matter what lies ahead, White Sox’ Lucas Giolito and James McCann will always have that no-hitter

A special bond formed between pitcher and catcher will likely be severed after this season.

White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito  celebrates with catcher James McCann after closing out a no-hitter Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won 4-0.
White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito celebrates with catcher James McCann after closing out a no-hitter Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox won 4-0.
Matt Marton/AP

Something must have been slightly amiss between right-hander Lucas Giolito and James McCann on Tuesday night.

Giolito actually shook off a pitch called by his catcher.

“He shook early in the game, and it kind of caught me off guard,” McCann said. “I can literally think of maybe three times in our entire history together where he’s shaken off. It’s just kind of one of those things, that trust that we’ve had, I don’t know if I’ve ever had that with another pitcher in my career.”

One thing McCann does know: He had never caught a no-hitter until Giolito pitched a 101-pitch masterpiece with 13 strikeouts and one walk against the Pirates.

As usual, Giolito let McCann’s fingers do the pitch calling. For 100 of the 101 pitches, anyway.

“It felt like a typical outing,” Giolito said. “I’m letting him do all the thinking, letting him read the hitters. I’m paying attention, I’m seeing what they’re doing. It was one of those nights where we were really in sync. Like I had the grip ready to go, and he was putting the signs down. Obviously, the relationship we have on and off the field is stupendous. He was such a huge part of what happened tonight.”

What happened was the 19th no-hitter in Sox history, the only no-hitter with 10-plus strikeouts and fewer than 105 pitches besides one of Sandy Koufax’s and the most swings and misses (30) in a no-hitter since Nolan Ryan (31) in 1990. Giolito gives McCann a big assist.

“I didn’t say anything to him throughout the game other than ‘stay aggressive and attack, attack, attack,’ ’’ McCann said.

Giolito, who didn’t shake off McCann when he threw seven innings of scoreless ball with 13 strikeouts in his previous start Thursday against the Tigers, became the first pitcher in Sox history with 13-plus strikeouts and no runs allowed in back-to-back starts.

McCann formed a bond during his first season with the Sox in 2019. Giolito, coming off a horrible year in 2018 when he had the worst ERA in the majors, changed his motion and also jelled with McCann, who also had a turnaround season, making the All-Star team after the Tigers non-tendered him. Dealing with adversity is one of the things that pulled them together.

“People wrote him off, people wrote me off,” McCann said. ‘‘And then all of a sudden, we’re both All-Stars together in 2019.’’

The bond might not last much longer because McCann will be a free agent after the season and will want to be a starter, as the Sox are committed to Yasmani Grandal as their No. 1 catcher.

In any event, McCann will always have Giolito’s no-hitter, and some nice keepsakes, too. He is keeping his catcher’s gear and spikes and won’t wear them again, and the Sox were going to dig up home plate for McCann and the rubber on the mound for Giolito to have.

“That will be a pretty special thing for me to keep,” McCann said.

NOTE: After the off day Thursday, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease will start against the Royals with Sunday’s starter to be announced. Manager Rick Renteria said Giolito will open the series at the Twins on Monday on five days rest. Dallas Keuchel would also get five days rest starting Tuesday.