For the last week, the White Sox’ biggest problem was hitting with runners in scoring position.
Tonight, the White Sox’ biggest problem was getting a runner into scoring position against Jose Berrios.
Minnesota’s most talented pitcher lived up to the billing, striking out 11 while allowing just three singles and a hit batter over seven innings. Two relievers preserved the three-hitter. Not one White Sox reached second base until two outs in the ninth inning, when Jose Abreu reached on Miguel Sano’s error and took second on defensive indifference.
Matt Davidson popped out to end the game, so he didn’t change the narrative there.
Berrios’ overpowering stuff overshadowed Lucas Giolito’s performance, which was merely encouraging. It took him four innings to find his breaking ball, but he pulled off some GIFable hammers over his last couple innings.
Early on, Giolito was a bit of a mess, falling off to the first-base side more than usual as he grunted pitches armside and/or up.
He dodged trouble in the first inning. He walked Joe Mauer with one out, then gave up a booming, moon-scraping double off the right-center wall to Miguel Sano. A batter later, Omar Narvaez called for a high fastball to Eddie Rosario, but Giolito missed down. Rosario turned on it and hit a smash … right to Jose Abreu. Abreu stepped on first, then pivoted to second, catching Sano way off the bag. Tim Anderson caught the throw and slapped the tag for the unusual 3-6 double play.
Giolito received more support in the second inning when a shifting Anderson snagged Max Kepler’s hot shot to start an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
Alas, Anderson couldn’t give Giolito a lift in the third inning. Byron Buxton forced the issue with his legs by singling, stealing second and taking third on a flyout. That forced the infield in, and Brian Dozier hit a grounder to Anderson. Had Anderson fielded it cleanly, he could’ve had Buxton by a couple steps. Instead, he shoved it home without a great grip, and the throw tailed into the path of Buxton’s foot. He scored, and the ball caromed to the backstop to allow Dozier to reach second.
Joe Mauer then delivered his 1,999th hit to make it a 2-0 game.
His 2,000th hit came four innings later, when his four-hopper off Aaron Bummer scooted through a drawn-in infield for two more runs. Those were on Giolito’s tab, as a one-out walk to Jason Castro and a double by Dozier ended his night.
There’s a reason Giolito had the line he had — 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K — but the arrow should be pointing up based on the way he turned it around.
The same can’t be said for the Sox offense. Of their three hits, two were clean singles by Yolmer Sanchez and Nicky Delmonico, and another was a roller by Anderson that hit third base. There is a difference between getting overmatched by the good Berrios and getting pantsed by Mike Fiers, so there’s that. Plus, if the weather forecast holds, they’ll probably get a day or two to clear their heads.
*Narvaez joined Anderson in the error column by throwing high and wide on Eduardo Escobar’s stolen base.
*Abreu grounded into a double play to erase Avisail Garcia’s HBP, and he couldn’t even get a third of the way up the line because he let go of the bat on his backswing, and it ended up between his spokes.
*Chris Volstad made his first appearance, pitching a scoreless eighth inning around a hit and a walk.
Record: 4-8 | Box score
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