Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox win a ‘grinder battle’ vs. the Texas Rangers 7-2 to take 2 of 3 in the series

·4 min read

ARLINGTON, Texas — Lucas Giolito was looking to avoid an early deficit.

There was no score in the bottom of the second, but the Texas Rangers were threatening with a runner on third and two outs. Giolito faced Yonny Hernandez, who was determined not to make it easy.

A 12-pitch at-bat followed, which included Hernandez fouling off eight straight.

“I’m throwing pitches up there, I’m trying to stay in the zone,” Giolito said. “It’s like, ‘Come on, man, just put it in play. Even if you get a base hit, let’s move on.’ ”

Giolito finally got Hernandez to pop out to shortstop Tim Anderson to end the inning.

“Those long ABs can end up being very taxing,” Giolito said. “I’m glad we ended up winning that one. That was a hell of a battle there, for sure.”

Giolito made strides in his second start back from the injured list, pitching into the sixth inning in the Chicago White Sox’s 7-2 victory Sunday in front of 24,918 at Globe Life Field.

He allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 5⅓ innings, helping the Sox take two of three in the series.

“I didn’t have as good stuff (Sunday), but I felt like the mix we had going was really solid. I was throwing a lot more strikes,” Giolito said. “If I can go into the sixth inning — I didn’t really have a good fastball, and so we’re relying on that off-speed stuff, using the fastball when we needed to.

“It was a good step forward from the last one. Just continue to get more and more comfortable coming back off the IL.”

The team’s magic number for clinching the American League Central is four.

“I feel like day games for me this year have not been the best, and for our team as a whole sometimes we come out a little bit flat on day games,” Giolito said. “But today everybody was in it. Every single guy in the dugout was in it. We were chirping, we were completely in the game pitch to pitch.

“I could feel that energy from the first inning. Even though we didn’t score any runs (in the first), I could feel that energy, that rhythm, that tempo. That carries over and keeps momentum on our side. Today was a really good example of everybody being in the game.”

The Sox took control with a five-run fourth. Yasmani Grandal homered and César Hernández and José Abreu had two-run singles in the inning.

Abreu, Anderson and Leury García each had two hits and scored once. García drove in two with a double in the seventh.

“We wanted to win the series,” Anderson said. “We went out and we brought it and the bats were working today and we were able to get some runs and we were able to win the game.”

The Sox were limited to three hits Saturday in a 2-1 loss. They rebounded Sunday with 10 hits.

“I always feel like you put it in play and good things are going to happen,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “We have problems when we strike out.”

The Sox saw plenty of good from Giolito, who allowed three runs and struck out eight in four innings in his first start back from the IL on Sept. 14 against the Los Angeles Angels.

He was on the IL from Sept. 1-14 with a strained left hamstring.

Giolito described Sunday’s outing as “kind of a grinder battle.”

“It felt good to get the pitch count a little bit higher (97),” he said. “Looking to stay in that same area, in the high 90s, low 100s, right up until playoffs.”

As the postseason nears, Giolito said his body “feels really good.”

“I feel very rested,” he said. “The IL stint kind of rested me because that injury wasn’t really much of anything to begin with, so I feel like I’m in a really good spot. Just building up the last two (starts) and going to be really strong going into these last couple and playoffs.”

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