The White Sox were getting no-hit, and Lucas Giolito, their staff ace, had allowed three runs.
But as quickly as Eloy Jimenez got the barrel of his bat on a high fastball from reliever Jose Cisnero, all was well again with the first-place Sox, who came from behind Friday night to defeat the Tigers 4-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field for their 18th victory in 23 games.
“Sure enough, like right away, the boys pick me up,” Giolito said. “Eloy hit a ball probably six inches above the zone out to take the lead. It shows how much we pick each other up. They were getting no-hit for five. It’s so much fun, it’s so cool to see what these guys are doing with the bats right now.”
Jimenez’s three-run homer, his 12th of the season, capped a four-run sixth after the Tigers scored three in their half of the sixth.
“I was frustrated with my own performance,” Giolito said, “but I go in the clubhouse having full confidence we would get right back in the game. Sure enough, they did it very quickly. It’s part of being a very good team.”
Tigers rookie right-hander Casey Mize took a no-hitter into the sixth, but he walked Nomar Mazara leading off and allowed a double to Yolmer Sanchez, ending his night. Three batters later, Jimenez lifted a towering fly over the left-field fence to make it 4-3.
On a night when Jose Abreu’s 22-game hitting streak came to an end, the Sox found other ways. Nick Madrigal’s RBI groundout with two strikes and Tim Anderson getting hit on the back of his left shoulder preceded Jimenez’s pivotal blow. The Sox finished with only three hits.
“It was an OK day [for Giolito], not his best, but we had his back,” Jimenez said.
Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Alex Colome combined for 3⅓ scoreless innings of relief. Colome had to work through an error by Sanchez at third base that opened the ninth.
Giolito (four hits, four walks) threw 114 pitches, and after he loaded the bases with no outs, walking Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario, Jorge Bonifacio snapped his 22-inning home scoreless streak with a sacrifice fly. The slow-footed Cabrera, ignored while on second, then stole third — his first stolen base since 2015 — and Candelario followed him to second as the ball got away from catcher James McCann. That set up a two-run single by Daz Cameron to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
It was the first major-league hit for Cameron, the son of former Sox outfielder Mike Cameron.
Giolito struck out seven to give him 82 strikeouts, the most by a Sox pitcher in his first 10 appearances in a season. The previous high was 79 by Chris Sale in 2015. Giolito (3.43 ERA) had 13, 13, eight and nine strikeouts in his four previous starts.
The Sox (28-16) lead the Twins by one game and the Indians by 2½. Out of the rebuild and now in the stage of “bringing it all together and hopefully augmenting it and hopefully watching them grow and ideally be ready to win,” as general manager Rick Hahn said Friday, they are progressing ahead of schedule.
“We were happy that we were moving into [the stage of being ready to win], and we were looking forward to moving out of it to that next, final stage of winning, of competing for championships,” Hahn said. “But we just had no idea how long that middle stage was going to be. It seemingly only lasted a matter of months or so before we found ourselves in a position to compete for championships. It’s a good result for us all, but it doesn’t change the fact that we know our work’s not done. We haven’t won anything yet, and the goal was to put ourselves in a position to win repeatedly and do this on an annual basis.
“There’s still work to be done to get to that level.”