CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito turned in his best start of a tough 2018 season, the White Sox ended an eight-game losing streak and Friday night's 6-4 victory over the A's at Guaranteed Rate Field salvaged a doubleheader split and gave the White Sox a much-needed good feeling going into Saturday
CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito turned in his best start of a tough 2018 season, the White Sox ended an eight-game losing streak and Friday night's 6-4 victory over the A's at Guaranteed Rate Field salvaged a doubleheader split and gave the White Sox a much-needed good feeling going into Saturday afternoon's contest.
"I felt in sync," Giolito said. "[Catcher Omar Narvaez] and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there."
"Good win tonight," White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. "Bounced back from the first one. Gio threw a heck of a game, and we picked him up on defense."
Giolito entered the game with 45 walks allowed in 71 1/3 innings and a 7.19 ERA, posting one win since May 20. It looked like more of the same for the right-hander when he issued two two-out walks in the first and yielded Matt Olson's run-scoring single for a 1-0 deficit. But Giolito settled down from there, topping out at 95.7 mph with his fastball per Statcast™, and getting 16 called strikes with the pitch. He also had nine swinging strikes and five called strikes among 33 sliders.
Oakland hitters saw only nine pitches in each of the second, third and fourth innings, and 13 in the fifth. But most importantly, Giolito trusted his stuff and stopped focusing too much on the minutiae attached to every start and every pitch. The same type of philosophical change turned around Giolito's 2017 campaign.
"I'll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there," Giolito said. "But I'm not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It's about going there and having fun and competing."
"A lot more conviction in his pitches, much truer line to the plate," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "I thought he trusted himself today. His breaking ball was working early. Offspeed, fastball had some ride. Was attacking the strike zone early. Did a nice job, seven-plus [innings]."
Meanwhile, the White Sox offense scored three in the second off former White Sox pitcher Chris Bassitt. Narvaez, who finished with three hits, singled home two and Charlie Tilson, who knocked out two hits, singled home a third.
The last four hitters in the White Sox lineup -- Anderson, Narvaez, Adam Engel and Tilson -- reached base 10 times combined and drove in all six runs. Engel added a two-run single in the sixth, and Anderson homered leading off the eighth, his 12th of the season.
An 11-2 loss in Game 1 put the White Sox with the Orioles and Royals as the only teams with 50 losses this season. But they bounced back behind Giolito, who struck out a season-high eight over a season-high seven-plus innings.
"[White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress," Renteria said, of Giolito. "The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone,"
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
X marks the spot: The A's rallied for two in the eighth and had runners on first and third with nobody out when Xavier Cedeno was summoned to save the game in the eighth. Olson, who homered off Giolito, hit a line drive with an exit velocity of 105.1 mph, according to Statcast™, that was caught by Anderson after he briefly bobbled it for the first out. Mark Canha struck out swinging and Chad Pinder's 105.2-mph grounder to Anderson resulted in an inning-ending forceout at second. Cedeno has not allowed any of his eight inherited runners to score this season. The first batters he faces 0-for-7 against him.
Ill-advised advancement: Pinder singled to open the seventh and moved to second on a wild pitch. He tried to advance to third on Franklin Barreto's line drive to Engel in center, but Engel threw him out with relative ease to complete the double play. Engel also made a diving catch in right-center to take a hit away from Pinder leading off the second.
"Defense behind me was spectacular tonight, especially Engy in center field with the diving catch," Giolito said. "Throwing the guy out at third, that was huge in the sixth inning. Just went out there and competed to the best of my ability and happy we came out on top there."
Joakim Soria is 7-for-7 in save opportunities in June. He has not allowed an earned run over his past 14 appearances, covering 13 2/3 innings.
HE SAID IT
"Feels better, feels better. Stung a little bit, though." -- A smiling Anderson, on the pain endured by his glove hand after catching Olson's crushed line drive to short for the first out of the eighth inning
Dylan Covey will make his eighth start of the season, fourth at home and first career against his former Oakland organization with a first pitch of 1:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field against Daniel Mengden. Covey was selected by the A's in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft, and by the White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8, 2016.
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.