White Sox ace Lucas Giolito rocked for eight runs in one-plus inning

Red Sox gain series split with 11-4 victory over White Sox.

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White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito reacts after giving up a home run to Boston Red Sox’s Enrique Hernandez, left, in the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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BOSTON — Six runs allowed in the first inning.

On seven hits and a walk, including a leadoff home run.

On 46 pitches, to 11 batters.

Lucas Giolito, White Sox ace.

What?

But wait, there was more. After Giolito finally got out of his nightmare of a start on Patriots’ Day at Fenway Park, still before noon after an 11:10 a.m. ET first pitch, he was sent back out for the second inning. He gave up a leadoff homer to J.D. Martinez and a walk to Rafael Devers. Martinez’s blast traveled even farther than Kike Hernandez’s lead off shot.

And with that, mercifully, manager Tony La Russa — hoping to save his bullpen on a strangely awful day for Giolito — brought in Zack Burdi.

The White Sox lost 11-4 and instead of heading to Cleveland for two games above .500, they settled for a 2-2 series split, giving up in the seventh inning, when La Russa used designated hitter Yermin Mercedes to pitch. Infielder Danny Mendick pitched the eighth.

“I lost us a game in the first inning, so it’s not a good feeling,” Giolito said. “The pitcher I am, what I’m capable of doing, to go out and do that, is not doing my job.”

The pitcher that he is — Cy Young contender, 2019 All-Star — is what made the battering so perplexing.

“It happens to pitchers, to the best of them,” La Russa said.

“What I hate to see,” Giolito said, “is I blew it early to the point where we have two positions players having to pitch, which should never happen.”

Working on five days of rest instead of the customary four, Giolito said he felt fine. He didn’t have his good changeup, and the Red Sox seemed to be sitting on it.

“They had a solid approach against me, and I pitched right into it,” Giolito said. “And they didn’t miss.”

“It seemed like every time he made a mistake, we made him pay for it,” said Hernandez, who homered off a changeup.

Giolito’s previous career low was 1⅓ innings. This was his third career game without a strikeout and first since 2018. His streak of four consecutive starts with at least eight strikeouts, including his first three this season, came to an abrupt halt.

He entered with a 2.55 ERA and left with a pitching line of one-plus innings, eight runs (seven earned), two walks, no strikeouts — and a 5.79 ERA.

Giolito got one swing and miss on his changeup in the first inning. He seemed to dismiss the notion he was tipping pitches, which came to mind when the inning started with a homer followed by five consecutive singles (one a bunt).

“The big thing was leaving my changeup up, and it didn’t have good action, based on the replays and stuff I saw,” he said. “They didn’t miss them.”

Giolito will be the first to say he’s not a morning person and never has been, but he didn’t reach for that excuse. Going in, he was 7-3 with a 1.73 ERA, including two complete games and a shutout, over his last 11 daytime starts.

“I had an early start in the playoff game last year [taking a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Athletics],” he said. “I prepared for this start like any other, routine, rest, sleep, food, so all good. Just didn’t work out.”

The Sox now have failed to move above .500 in seven attempts. La Russa cited his team’s fight after seeing the game get away bright and early.

Giolito put the blame on his own shoulders.

“I’m not going to make any excuses,” he said. “I didn’t do my job today. That’s pretty much it.”

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