Lucas Giolito labors, doesn’t last long in White Sox’ loss to Yankees

Giolito needed 60 pitches to get through the first two innings and allowed three runs in the second. His day was done after just four innings.

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New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox

Lucas Giolito delivers a pitch Sunday against the Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The August schedule probably will provide a preview of a few playoff possibilities for the White Sox.

Their first test came this weekend against the Yankees, and with a 5-3 loss Sunday, the Sox dropped the first of four series in a row against teams with records above .500.

The Yankees scored in the second inning on Rougned Odor’s two-run homer and an RBI double by Brett Gardner. Lucas Giolito struggled against Gardner all three times he faced him — Gardner drew walks in the first and fourth innings.

“The Gardner at-bat, specifically the first one, was like 12 pitches or something,” Giolito said. “He got on base all three times. So to throw 25-plus pitches to one guy three times through, it’s going to be tough to navigate through and get through six, seven innings.”

Giolito needed 60 pitches to cover the first two innings and allowed three runs in the second. His day was done after four innings. The bullpen kept the Yankees scoreless until the ninth. Up 3-1, the Yankees added two more runs when Giancarlo Stanton led off with a double to right field and Luke Voit cracked a two-run homer.

At the plate, the Sox struggled to get runners in scoring position against Yankees starter Nestor Cortes, whose only run allowed came on Andrew Vaughn’s solo homer in the sixth.

“He kept us off our toes a little bit, moving the ball around. Had some good situations to score,” Vaughn said.

Down 5-1, the Sox nearly mounted another comeback, scoring twice in the ninth on hits by Zack Collins (double) and Tim Anderson (single). But the rally faltered when Cesar Hernandez grounded into a game-ending double play. Hernandez grounded into two double plays, along with committing three -errors.

“It was not our best offensive day, and defensively we made it harder for [Giolito],” manager Tony La Russa said. “As a matter of fact, as you know, we got a couple of extra times he threw another 20-25 pitches. It wasn’t the best game we’ve played, but it’s as hard as we’ve played.”

All three games against the Yankees had an October feel, and like the playoffs, details often make the difference. Twice on Sunday the Sox had close plays at first base that potentially affected run-scoring opportunities.

In the first, Hernandez was called out on a close play before Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez hit back-to-back singles. In the seventh, Anderson was called out at first in an inning-ending double play after Jake Lamb led off with a walk. La Russa and his coaching staff opted not to challenge either call, a decision he said came from the Sox’ video team.

“There was one time where it was a tie, looked like it might be a tie,” La Russa said. “And usually New York does not overturn that. Our replay situation because of [Mike Kashirsky] is very strong. The one that we thought was clearly correct, not to challenge. The other one was close, a possible tie, and that usually doesn’t get overturned.”

La Russa was tossed for the 90th time in his career in the eighth because of another close call. Jimenez struck out looking on a low fastball, a pitch La Russa said he argued was too low for a player of Jimenez’s height.

Since the All-Star break, the Sox are one game below .500, but they still have a 10-game lead in the American League Central. Their next 11 games, against the Athletics, Blue Jays and Rays, will be a barometer for the players of what the postseason could feel like.

“You know it’s going to be a battle,” Vaughn said. “Two good teams going against each other, and I feel like every game [against the Yankees] was a lot of playoff atmosphere.”

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