Dodgeball: The White Sox ace alternated between knee-buckling changeups and steamroller heat. (@Chisox)
No question which starting pitcher dominated today.
Lucas Giolito was masterful today, from starting out by getting nemesis Max Kepler to pop up, to ending by striking out super-nemesis Nelson Cruz, Cool Hand Lucas separated the Twins from their bats all afternoon, giving the Chicago White Sox a 4-0 win and the rubber game of their three-game series at the Minnesota Twins.
Gioilito went all the way on 115 pitches, 82 of them strikes, 24 of those swing-and-misses. He struck out 12, walked none and gave up only a bunt single to Jorge Polanco in the first, a 117 mph line shot single to Cruz in the fourth and a double to Jonathan Schoop in the eighth. His fastball sat 94ish, going up as the game went on and hitting a top at 96.8 mph, and the changeup did just what it was supposed to do.
Lucas only needed one big defensive play, delivered by Adam Engel.
As for the offense — well, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The hardest-hit balls of the day were by the Twins, and the hardest hit balls by the Sox only figured in one run, but gifts and seeing-eye dribblers and bloops were enough for the win.
The Sox scored two off Jake Odirizzi in the first on a Leury García single, an error by Jorge Polanco when he didn’t step on second on what should have been a Tim Anderson force out, a weak José Abreu grounder in the hole for a single, a wild pitch (one of three by Twins pitchers), and a Matt Skole excuse-me bloop to short right. The hardest-hit ball of the inning was an Eloy Jiménez double-play ball to end the inning.
The third run came in the third on consecutive singles by García, Anderson and Abreu, Abreu’s a pop-up that fell among three fielders. No. 4 involved the best of José’s three hits, a leadoff double in the fifth which led to him scoring on a wild pitch.
Anderson had two hits, keeping up his amazing recent streak, and Leury hit two singles as well. In true Sox fashion, the team did manage 11 Ks vs. two walks.
But the day belonged to Cool Hand Lucas, who ended it this way:
The Sox now head home and start a four-game series against the Texas Rangers tomorrow night. Some sort of crazy amalgamation of Lauren Wilner and Leonard Gore prose, and Janice Scurio and Cat Garcia tweets, will provide the SSHP coverage.