Lucas Giolito carries White Sox to 2-1 victory over Twins
Giolito struck out 11 in his best start of the season as the Sox bounced back to take the series against the defending AL Central champs.
MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox manager Tony La Russa called this “a big game for us.”
Lucas Giolito came up really big.
The All-Star and Opening Day right-hander, showing the fleeting form that had earned him the title of staff ace, was in top form again, striking out a season-high 11 over eight innings of one-run ball as the Sox held on to beat the Twins 2-1 to take an important, eventful series against the defending American League Central champions.
The first-place Sox (26-16), who beat the Twins (14-27) for the fifth time in six games, got a hustling RBI single from Adam Eaton with two outs in the fifth inning that scored Leury Garcia after Garcia doubled in his third consecutive game.
Garcia added an RBI single off the left-field wall in the sixth to score Jake Lamb, who legged out a double leading off the sixth against Twins starter Matt Shoemaker (2-5).
The Twins’ only run against Giolito (3-4, 4.35 ERA) came on Nelson Cruz’s homer in the third, his 10th. After that, Giolito did not allow a hit, facing the minimum thanks to a double play after Jorge Polanco walked to lead off the sixth. First baseman Andrew Vaughn dove to his right, flipped to shortstop Tim Anderson while on his knees and went back to first for the relay throw.
Giolito, who was 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA over his last five starts, walked three and allowed two hits. Nine of his 11 strikeouts came on changeups.
“It was my go-to put-away pitch,” Giolito said. “It looked like they were really trying to stay on the heater all day, no matter what I was throwing.”
“He just did everything that our team needed,” La Russa said. “Can’t give him enough credit.”
Closer Liam Hendriks struck out Polanco, got Cruz on a pop fly and struck out Max Kepler in order to record his ninth save.
The Sox, who are off Thursday, boarded the team flight for New York wearing outfits mimicking the one worn by Yoan Moncada in his music video.
“Good vibes on a team flight where we are all kind of coming together” and brimming with confidence, Giolito said.
“For us, the sky’s the limit,” he said. “Last year, we got that little taste, and now we want the whole thing.”
Giolito had his second career game with at least eight innings, two or fewer hits and 10-plus strikeouts. The other was his no-hitter against the Pirates last Aug. 25.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the game, what happened yesterday, what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Giolito said. “We play with that confidence no matter what. We need that to be able to keep it going.”
This and that
La Russa said the Sox are “keeping our fingers crossed” that Jose Abreu (left ankle inflammation) can play this weekend against the Yankees. Outfielder Adam Engel (hamstring) might go on a rehab assignment early next week, he said.
• Moncada has a nine-game hitting streak and has walked in eight consecutive games, the longest streak by a Sox player since Jim Thome’s nine-game run in 2009.
• The Sox are 14-2 in games after a loss.