One of the most important pitches came early Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Trying to preserve a one-run lead, Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito faced Kansas City Royals catcher Freddy Fermin with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning.
With the count full, Giolito went with a changeup, and Fermin swung and missed.
“We wanted to go (with) a backdoor-type changeup, and it was one of those ones that kind of floated out of my hand high, those don’t generally work anymore, but it worked in that situation so I’ll take it,” Giolito said. “It wasn’t the best executed pitch, but it ended up working out.”
Giolito followed Michael Kopech’s outstanding outing Friday with a nice one Saturday, allowing one run in six innings as the Sox beat the Royals 5-1 in front of 23,984.
“Gio did a heck of a job,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Made pitches when he needed to. Just absolutely pitched. I can’t say enough about what he did.”
Yoán Moncada had a two-run single in the first and Jake Burger drove in three with a double in the sixth to supply the scoring.
But this series so far has been all about the starting pitching. Kopech allowed one hit, a sixth-inning single to Michael Massey, while striking out 10 in eight innings during Friday’s 2-0 victory.
“I had a tough act to follow,” Giolito said. “Michael was brilliant.”
Giolito (3-3) scattered six hits while striking out four and walking one in six innings for his team-leading sixth quality start.
Salvador Perez had three of those hits, including a home run in the first featuring a playful back-and-forth with the Sox dugout while rounding the bases.
Moncada put the Sox ahead with the two-run single against Royals starter Jordan Lyles (0-8) in the bottom of the inning.
“That was a boost to our energy,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “We fell down early and we were able to come back, and even after that we kept grinding.”
The Sox maintained the momentum defensively in the second when Moncada fielded a grounder by Fermin at third, threw to first and then caught Andrew Vaughn’s return throw to nail Nick Pratto, who tried to advance from second, for a 5-3-5 double play.
“Massive,” Giolito said of the play. “Finding outs like that is so huge because you’re taking runners off the base paths, keeping my pitch count down. I continue to keep going, going, going. We had (right fielder Adam) Haseley with the diving catch (for the first out of the third). (Moncada) going over.
“It’s frustrating giving up weak-contact hits and extra-base hits, but (the) defense was all over the baseball (Saturday), really made my job much easier.”
Giolito got out of the jam in the fourth by striking out Fermin. He wrapped up his outing by striking out Maikel Garcia with a fastball with a runner on third to maintain the 2-1 lead in the sixth. The Royals were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“He does really good in those (crisis) situations,” Grifol said. “He makes pitches. He’s got four pitches that he can go to at any time. He commands the fastball up in the zone, which is big. He doesn’t want to get in those situations, but when he does get in them, he knows how to pitch his way out for sure.”
Batting with one out and three on, Burger broke the game open with his bases-clearing double to right-center against reliever Jose Cuas in the bottom of the inning.
“It’s one of those situations you step up and you don’t want to ground into a double play,” Burger said. “You have to stay through the middle, and fortunately I got the pitch to do that.”
Relievers Garrett Crochet, Reynaldo López, Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman combined to allow one hit in the final three innings for the Sox (18-29), who have won four of five.
“We’re still well under .500, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Giolito said. “In this division, I think that (if) we keep playing the way we’re playing we’ll be in a good spot.”
Liam Hendriks in line for another live BP session
Hendriks is slated for another live bullpen session during the upcoming series in Cleveland.
Grifol said it will be similar to Friday when Hendriks faced teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field. Hendriks continues to work his way toward a return after undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Source: Berkshire mont
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