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Giolito stung by homers in loss to Indians

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CLEVELAND -- Lucas Giolito didn't issue a walk over six innings pitched during the White Sox 7-3 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

It was a small step forward for the right-hander, who entered Tuesday with an American League-worst 37 free passes issued in 49 innings. It was an effort that earned a thumbs up from manager Rick Renteria when he was questioned about Giolito during his postgame media session. But some improvement shouldn't be confused with dominance, as Giolito still didn't miss enough bats to avoid a second straight loss and watch his ERA climb to 7.53.

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CLEVELAND -- Lucas Giolito didn't issue a walk over six innings pitched during the White Sox 7-3 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

It was a small step forward for the right-hander, who entered Tuesday with an American League-worst 37 free passes issued in 49 innings. It was an effort that earned a thumbs up from manager Rick Renteria when he was questioned about Giolito during his postgame media session. But some improvement shouldn't be confused with dominance, as Giolito still didn't miss enough bats to avoid a second straight loss and watch his ERA climb to 7.53.

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"Just got too much of the plate. Trying to get in on lefties and missing over the middle a lot is kind of what hurt me," Giolito said. "It definitely felt good being back in the strike zone. The curveball felt a lot better, especially. Changeup keeping it down."

"He was throwing a lot more strikes," Renteria said. "He showed he was getting his breaking ball over a little bit better today. He threw some changeups that were pretty good in hitter's counts that he was able to get some swings and misses on. He ground through what ultimately for him was quite a bit of traffic and still kept it to six innings and five runs. Much better than his previous start, for sure."

Video: CWS@CLE: Palka crushes a solo homer to center field

In that previous start against the Orioles, Giolito allowed seven runs in a season-low 1 1/3 innings. On Tuesday, Giolito yielded five runs on nine hits over the six innings and 98 pitches, including four straight hits to Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso in the first inning to stake Cleveland to a 2-0 lead. Brantley -- who extended his hitting streak to 18 games -- and Ramirez also went deep in dropping the White Sox to 16-36 overall and 2-12 over their last 14 on the road and to 2-11 in their last 13 against the Indians.

Mike Clevinger held the White Sox to one run over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two. The lone run scored against him came in the second when Daniel Palka doubled and Tim Anderson singled him in one out later. Palka added his fifth home run leading off the ninth.

Video: CWS@CLE: Anderson drives in a run with single to left

According to Statcast™, Giolito had seven swinging strikes and 10 called strikes, with his fastball velocity maxing out at 94 mph and averaging 91.8 mph. Cleveland hitters had an average exit velocity of 92.6 mph against Giolito.

Carlos Rodon made a third injury rehab start and second with Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday, striking out eight over five scoreless frames while throwing 86 pitches. Rodon is set up in the same rotation spot as Giolito, but Rodon might need another start to further test a left shoulder surgically repaired last September and get his pitch count up. Thus Giolito doesn't appear to be going anywhere except back to the mound for the White Sox.

"Obviously, I still have to pick up strike throwing, limiting damage to myself with walks and hit batters," Giolito said. "Today was a good step in that direction. But overall I need to do a better job of keeping the team in the game. Limiting damage when runners are on base and executing pitches. Left way too many fastballs over the middle of the plate."

"All in all, I thought he was attacking the strike zone, which is what we need," Renteria said. "He's got to get ready for the next one, and hopefully it's a good one."

Video: CWS@CLE: Thompson bloops an RBI single to right field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Flashing the leather: Cleveland's two-run first could have been worse if not for Anderson's defensive gem to start the frame. Anderson was shifted toward the first-base side of second for Lindor but ranged back toward short to glove his grounder and throw across his body to get Lindor at first by a step. The Indians rattled off four straight hits after that play.

Video: CWS@CLE: Anderson robs Lindor with a backhanded play

SOUND SMART
If Dylan Covey is factored in, the White Sox have six starting pitchers with first-inning ERAs above 7.20. Giolito has allowed 14 earned runs in the first over 11 starts, giving up 15 hits and walking 12 in the opening inning. The White Sox have allowed 50 first -inning runs in 52 games.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Yolmer Sanchez's triple with one out in the third was his Major League-leading sixth of the season. Sanchez has more triples than six MLB teams as a collective group.

Video: CWS@CLE: Sanchez triples to right in the 3rd inning

HE SAID IT
"Miss a few more bats, probably."
-- Renteria, on what Giolito needs to do to take an even greater step forward

UP NEXT
The White Sox six-game road trip comes to an end Wednesday afternoon with a first pitch of 12:10 p.m. CT against the Indians. Corey Kluber and his 2.17 ERA will take the mound for Cleveland, while Reynaldo Lopez and his 2.93 ERA counter for the White Sox. Lopez is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA and seven hits allowed over his last two starts covering 15 innings.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Lucas Giolito