Lucas Giolito leaves White Sox’ opener with abdominal tightness; Tigers rally to win
Javy Baez’s game-winning single over right fielder AJ Pollock capped the Tigers’ rally from two three-run deficits.
DETROIT — The reaction was universal Friday wherever White Sox fans reacted on Opening Day:
You’ve got to be kidding.
About right-hander Lucas Giolito’s injury — yet another major blow to an important piece of the pitching staff. And about the way the bullpen failed to protect multiple leads against the Tigers in a wild, stinging, 5-4 loss.
Three days after All-Star right-hander Lance Lynn (knee) and bullpen lefty Garrett Crochet (elbow) had their surgeries and one day after third baseman Yoan Moncada (strained oblique) and righty Ryan Burr (sore shoulder) joined them on the injured list, Giolito — with four scoreless innings in his pocket — left his start at Comerica Park with tightness in his left abdominal area.
“I’m concerned because knowing him, he won’t want to come out,” manager Tony La Russa said. “[You have to] drag him out of there. I’m concerned because he felt something. . . . We’ve got a lot riding on him getting checked and seeing what it is.”
The Sox were ahead 3-0 when reliever Bennett Sousa trotted in from center field to open the fifth. Everything was Opening Day beautiful for the American League Central favorites. Then came word that Giolito, who threw 66 pitches, was hurt.
The Tigers, one of a few improved teams in a division that figures to be tighter than it was last season, then made plays in the field and chipped away at a pair of deficits. With two outs and a runner on third in the ninth, new Tiger Javy Baez delivered the game-winner, a drive off closer Liam Hendriks that backed right fielder AJ Pollock to the wall. While Pollock appeared to make a juggling catch, the ball made contact with the wall before going off his glove.
A replay challenge confirmed there was no catch, umpire Marvin Hudson reversed the call, and the Tigers erupted from the dugout to celebrate.
“It’s unfortunate how it ended, for sure,” Pollock said.
Playing in Detroit for the first time and in right field for just the seventh time in his career on a windy day, he didn’t trust himself taking his eye off the ball to get his bearings.
“If I had a little more time, I definitely would have tried to take my head off and see where I was,” said Pollock, who had three hits, including a double and an RBI, in addition to scoring his 500th career run in his first game with the Sox. “It was kind of a funky play. It was just a crazy game.”
Earlier in the ninth, Eric Haase hit a solo homer off Hendriks after Sox designated hitter Andrew Vaughn hit a tie-breaking homer off Gregory Soto in the top of the inning.
“It was a pretty good feeling to quiet the crowd down a little bit and get the momentum in our favor, and it just didn’t turn our way in the end,” Vaughn said.
The Sox built their 3-0 lead on Eloy Jimenez’s RBI single, Pollock’s RBI single and Luis Robert’s RBI double in the first two innings against Eduardo Rodriguez. They seemed to catch a run-saving break when the Tigers’ Jeimer Candelario rolled into second baseman Josh Harrison and was called for interference, completing a double play with a runner on third.
But the Tigers got a break when Drew Hutchison retired 3-4-5 hitters Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal and Jimenez after Pollock and Robert doubled and singled against him, respectively, to open the fifth.
The tough break for Hendriks was Miguel Cabrera’s broken-bat, two-run single to tie the game in the eighth.
“I made the pitch I wanted to, but it’s not the result I wanted, and that’s the thing that hurts the most today,” Hendriks said.
Well, the injury police might have something to say about that.
“Tough,” La Russa said. “Really a hard loss. [Giolito] was throwing the ball so well.”