White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito didn’t mince words about Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson.
“He’s a [bleeping] pest. That’s kind of a classless move. If you’re going to talk s---, talk s--- to my face,” Giolito said after the Sox held on for a 7-6 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. “Don’t go across home plate and do all that, just come to me.”
After connecting with a Giolito four-seam fastball for his 12th homer of the season in the first inning, a two-run shot with no outs to give the Twins a 2-0 lead, Donaldson appeared to yell “It’s not sticky anymore” while rubbing his hands together as he crossed the plate. He flied out his next two times up against Giolito.
Donaldson has been outspoken about Major League Baseball’s crackdown on pitchers for using foreign substances to improve their grips. Giolito said he wasn’t aware of what Donaldson did until “after the fact.”
“We won,” Giolito said. “The W’s next to my name. They’re in last place.”
Striking out only one batter and effectively pitching to contact, Giolito (6-5, 3.84 ERA) strung together five scoreless innings after the first. He was charged with a run in the seventh and three altogether, exiting after Trevor Larnach’s leadoff double. He threw 97 pitches.
“It was kind of like survival tonight,” Giolito said. “I didn’t have very good feel. But able to sequence pretty well, made pitches when we needed.
“Credit goes to [catcher Zack] Collins behind the dish, calling a great game for me and the defense behind me tonight, get that W.”
Giolito’s spin rates were below his yearly average, and he’s not alone in that regard since the enforcement of banning foreign substances has gone into effect.
The defending American League Central champion Twins (33-44), desperate to make up ground on the first-place Sox (46-32) and avoid getting buried deeper, fell to 12 1⁄2 games back.
Gavin Sheets had a single, double and two RBI in his major-league debut, and Leury García drove in two runs. Ryan Burr retired all four batters he faced before Liam Hendriks allowed a run in a shaky ninth but recorded his 21st save.
Hendriks hit a batter, walked one and threw two wild pitches.
Donaldson did not talk to the media after the game but was expected to address reporters Wednesday.
“I can’t tell you exactly what he said,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He was excited and he was doing something. He was just more excited for the homer than anything else. I’m not sure.”