The White Sox took three out of five games and will now travel to Detroit to play a makeup game against the Tigers on Monday.
Before Sunday’s game, La Russa and his coaching staff had a talk with some of the players because of the lackadaisical play the night before. La Russa understood that the team is on a long 11-game road trip and had just won the American League Central title during the trip.
“Yesterday, we were back on our heels. We can’t maintain our edge that way,” La Russa said.
Sunday was a different story. There was a lot of energy on the field and good live action, with the White Sox making plays and getting key base hits.
“Once in a while, you are going to have a game you need to address, and [the players] addressed it really well [today],” La Russa said.
The high energy started with right-hander Lucas Giolito, who looked like he is ready for the postseason, pitching six shutout innings and allowing only five hits while striking out six.
The only time he found himself in trouble was in his final frame, when he allowed two runners to reach base, but Owen Miller lined out to second baseman Leury García to end the threat.
This was Giolito’s third start since coming off the injured list on Sept. 13. He said he felt strong and was happy to throw 100 pitches for the first time since Aug. 15 against the Yankees.
“He had composure [and] repeated his delivery,” La Russa said of Giolito. “He threw all of his pitches. It was really hard [for the Indians] to get on anything because at any count, he may have something different. The Indians are very aggressive. They are tough to pitch [against].”
Giolito is putting a heavy emphasis on finishing the regular season strong and being prepared to go into the postseason.
“I’m getting more important work with [catcher Yasmani Grandal]. I’m just trying to put together a good start. I wanted to go at least six innings,” Giolito said. “We accomplished those goals today.”
The Indians scored their two runs after Giolito left the game. In the seventh, with reliever Michael Kopech on the mound, Roberto Pérez scored on a single by Myles Straw. An inning later, Harold Ramirez hit a home run off Craig Kimbrel.
The White Sox scored enough runs in the early going to give Giolito his 11th win of the season. By the third inning, they had a 3-0 lead against Indians right-hander Triston McKenzie. Eloy Jiménez highlighted the scoring with a two-run single.
Chicago padded its lead with two more runs against two Cleveland relievers. In the sixth, García singled up the middle against right-hander Justin Garza, scoring Andrew Vaughn. Two innings later, the White Sox pulled off a double steal off right-hander Blake Parker with Billy Hamilton scoring on the front end of the play.
“Tim [Anderson] took off from first and when the Indians made the play,” La Russa said, “Hamilton and Anderson improvised. Billy is just a tremendous weapon out there with his [baserunning]. It was something that was improvised, and they get all the credit.”