Getting no help from his defense, Lucas Giolito works overtime, piles up strikeouts

Lucas Giolito was cruising through his first two innings, striking out five Mariners in a row after a leadoff groundout. And then the White Sox’ defense happened.

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Nick Madrigal and Leury Garcia settle for a forceout on a double play ball grounder that was bobbled by Madrigal.

Nick Madrigal and Leury Garcia settle for a forceout on a double play ball grounder that was bobbled by Madrigal.

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Lucas Giolito was cruising through his first two innings, striking out five Mariners in a row after a leadoff groundout. And then the White Sox defense happened.

In one calamitous third inning in a late game against the Mariners Tuesday in Seattle, second baseman Nick Madrigal bobbled a double play ball and had to settle for a fumbling force out, left fielder Andrew Vaughn had fly ball glance off his glove for an RBI double and catcher Zack Collins didn’t get his glove down to block a strikeout pitch in the dirt, allowing a run to score.

All of which forced Giolito, working with fastball velocity in the low 90s — a few mph lower than usual — to labor through a 39-pitch inning. The Mariners plated three runs.

When Collins belted a three-run homer against left-hander Nick Margevicius in the second inning to give Giolito a 3-0 lead and Giolito breezing early it had the makings of an easy night for the Sox, especially with Mariners lefty starter James Paxton forced to leave in the second with an injury.

But things got dicey after that. It was the latest bad showing with the gloves for the Sox, who made five errors worth seven unearned runs in their opening series against the Angels.

After going hitless in his first 12 appearances, Vaughn got his first major league hit, a double to right-center, in the fourth.

Luis Robert’s two-run homer in the fifth gave the Sox a 5-3 lead, and Giolito rebounded from the ugly third with two scoreless innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts in 5 13 innings, reaching double-digit strikeouts for the 11th time in his career, tying Billy Pierce for sixth all time.

Anderson status for home opener: ‘Wait and see’

As expected, shortstop Tim Anderson was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive night with a tight left hamstring, and he won’t play in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. Manager Tony La Russa said “we’ll wait and see about the home opener” Thursday against the Royals.

Anderson went through running drills before the game.

“So I think he’s making progress,” La Russa said. “But I don’t know exactly what the timetable is.”

Grandal on bench

A night after belting a homer and driving in three runs, switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal was on the bench with left-handed hitting Collins catching Giolito. Grandal will catch the series finale Wednesday afternoon and also on Thursday, La Russa said.

Grandal dealt with a sore right knee during spring training, and not wanting to tax him even as a designated hitter and with Yermin Mercedes batting .667, La Russa relieved Grandal of DH duty, too.

Collins “had really good at-bats” against lefties during spring training, La Russa said.

“But more it’s about wanting to get a game off for Yaz and being confident that Lucas and Zack could work together well.”

More from Monday

Rodon, the No. 5 starter, struck out nine in five innings, and Michael Kopech (five strikeouts) and Jose Ruiz (one strikeout) each threw two as the Sox combined on a 6-0 shutout victory over the Mariners on Monday. Rodon touched 98 mph for the first time since 2017.

Mask up

A mandatory mask policy will be enforced for all fans ages 2 and up, the Sox reminded fans in an advisory in advance of the home opener. Everyone will be required to wear a CDC-approved face mask covering the nose and mouth throughout the ballpark property, including parking lots, unless they are actively eating or drinking in ticketed seats. Masks must be worn properly covering the nose and mouth.

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