Lucas Giolito got knocked around by an unforgiving lineup, and the Astros kept pouring it on Thursday, delivering a 21-5 beatdown and sending the White Sox on the road with a disappointing four-game series split.
“That’s a brutal afternoon,” manager Tony La Russa said.
After the Sox scored perhaps their two most invigorating victories against the American League’s best team, both in late comeback fashion, they lost a one-run decision Wednesday, then endured this colossal loss before 24,407 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“We made a freakin’ statement,” said Astros center fielder Chas McCormick, who drove in five runs with three hits. “They’re a good team. We wanted to make sure we won the [season] series.”
There’s no shame in splitting with the Astros, especially when playing without Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, but the resounding clanks of 25 hits, eight of them against Giolito (5.34 ERA) in three-plus innings, must have left a mark. La Russa called the series “disappointing” after starting 2-0.
After Giolito’s exit, Vince Velasquez and Jose Ruiz gave up five runs each, and second baseman Josh Harrison, pitching the ninth inning, gave up four more.
“It’s disappointing,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘Tough way to lose. That’s all I got.’’
The Sox allowed at least 21 runs for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since Aug. 30, 1970, against the Red Sox (also 21). The 21 runs are one shy of the club-record 22 allowed on July 26, 1931, against the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees.
The 25 hits are tied for the second-most in club history, one shy of the franchise-record 26 allowed on June 20, 1932, against the Jimmie Foxx/Al Simmons Philadelphia Athletics.
Alex Bregman was 4-for-6 with two home runs and six RBI. Yoan Moncada homered for the Sox, their only long ball of the series, when they were down 10-0 in the fifth inning.
The Sox are 3-4 against the Astros, who beat them three games to one in their AL Division Series last season and made it clear they’ll be tough to get by this October, too.
“They beat us up,” La Russa said. “They deserve the credit. We take the heat. That’s what I’m doing now before turning the page to Cleveland.”
Now come the Guardians, the surprising AL Central leaders, for three games in Cleveland. The Sox trail them by 2½ games and the second-place Twins by 1½.
“[The Guardians] have a bunch of hitters that use the whole field,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘They’re aggressive early, shorten up and put the ball in play. They have good speed, and they’ll play nine hard innings. And they do a good job of pitching. Be a fun weekend.”
We shall see.
NOTES: Luis Robert, limited to one pinch-running experience since hurting his left wrist on a slide Friday, had a full workout, including swings in the batting cage, as he eyes a possible return to the lineup Friday.
† Lefty Aaron Bummer, working through a lat strain and shoulder soreness, threw his second bullpen session. He still needs another bullpen, one or two sim games and a rehab assignment with Charlotte before he can return to the bullpen. The target is September.