Lucas Giolito had a no-hitter through six innings.
But the Chicago White Sox starter was at 100 pitches and knew it was time for the team to go to the bullpen.
“You are already past the 100-pitch mark,” Giolito said. “It’s six innings. It’s tough to go back out. I understand.”
The Sox lost the no-hitter in the seventh but more importantly held on to beat the New York Yankees 3-2 on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Giolito was brilliant, striking out seven and walking three.
“My stuff felt really good,” he said. “Fastball felt very lively. Too many balls. If I stay in the zone a little bit more, I was getting ahead of a lot of guys but throwing a lot of balls as they are working 2-2, 3-2 counts.
“They had a good, patient approach, which I unfortunately kind of played into a little bit. One takeaway from that is be more efficient, be more in the zone. Attack the zone.”
Joe Kelly entered in the seventh and struck out the first two batters before walking Willie Calhoun. Isiah Kiner-Falefa broke up the combined no-hit bid when his fly to left-center fell between Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr. for an RBI double. There appeared to be miscommunication between the outfielders.
“I checked on Andrew and I saw he was charging fast to the ball, and I didn’t check again on him,” Robert said through an interpreter. “I didn’t check on him the second time.”
Kelly limited the damage to one run. Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks followed as the four Sox pitchers combined for a three-hitter to win the opener of the three-game series.
“Impossible for him to go three more innings unless we gave him 160 (pitches), which he asked for,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said of Giolito. “He did a great job.”
With the win and the Minnesota Twins’ 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox are within 4½ games of first in the American League Central.
“Coming into Yankee Stadium, definitely wanted to set the tone for this series,” Giolito said. “Coming off a sweep (against the Detroit Tigers) and wanted to keep the momentum going, and I’m glad we were able to do that tonight.
“Seby (Zavala) was brilliant behind the dish. We went over the game plan extensively and I told him before the game started: ‘Hey, I just want to get into my mode. I don’t want to be out there thinking. So you call it.’ And he did a fantastic job.
“The bullpen came in and had to cover three innings and they were fantastic. Liam gets his first save back, which is great to see.”
The Sox were vying for the 21st no-hitter in franchise history. Giolito threw the 19th on Aug. 25, 2020, against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Guaranteed Rate Field.
That one was played with no fans in the stands because of the pandemic. Tuesday’s game was in front of 38,049 in one of the biggest settings in the sport.
“I saw him pitch up in the zone,” Grifol said. “Focused, poise, presence, velocity was up to 96 (mph). He was just in control. He pitched. He competed. It was a really good outing for him.”
Michael Kopech took a perfect game into the sixth the last time the Sox were at Yankee Stadium before surrendering a two-out double to Rob Brantly in the nightcap of a May 22 doubleheader last season.
Giolito pitched six no-hit innings during the second game of an April 18 doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies at Guaranteed Rate Field. He left after throwing 102 pitches. The Phillies broke up that combined no-hit bid when Brandon Marsh led off the eighth with a double to left against Aaron Bummer.
Tuesday didn’t begin sharply for Giolito, who walked two with two outs in the first. He got out of the inning, striking out Anthony Volpe. He cruised from there, walking one more the rest of his outing.
“This is what he brings to the table and he has on any given night: the ability to go out there and do this for six, seven, eight, nine innings,” Hendriks said. “It’s a pleasure to be able to watch him pull the string and play cat-and-mouse game with his fastball-changeup-slider combo.”
Giolito’s batterymate, Zavala, supplied the offense with a solo homer to right in the third and a two-run homer to left in the fifth.
“Whatever helps the team win,” Zavala said of the homers and working with Giolito.
The Sox turned to the bullpen after the six outstanding innings by Giolito.
Kelly rebounded after giving up the double and a single to Jose Trevino by getting Jake Bauers to ground out to shortstop Tim Anderson.
Graveman pitched a perfect eighth with one strikeout.
Hendriks surrendered a homer to Josh Donaldson but got the next three batters to ground out to Anderson for his first save since being reinstated from the injured list May 29 after his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“I didn’t feel great today, I felt OK. One bad pitch and it sets the tone a little bit,” Hendriks said. “It almost helps me when the stadium gets that loud. I tend to get a little better after that. For whatever reason, that helped me lock in a little bit more than I had initially.”
The Sox have a season-high four-game winning streak. They’ve won five of six and inched closer in the division race.
“We’re showing a little bit more grit,” Hendriks said.
Source: Berkshire mont