Giolito silences vaunted Astros in first shutout

May 24th, 2019

HOUSTON -- wasn't concerned that he was going to be prematurely lifted from Thursday's game against the Astros, but he did have it in the back of his mind what he would say in the event that manager Rick Renteria decided to not let him go the distance.

"I was fully prepared to plead my case," Giolito said. "Ricky's really, really good about that stuff. He knows when we're going good, he's going to let us get that extra length and try to finish off what we started."

Turns out, that's exactly what Renteria was thinking as he watched Giolito put the finishing touches on his first career shutout, silencing one of the best offenses in baseball with a 4-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Renteria had no conversations with Giolito as the game progressed. Giolito had pitched efficiently and crisply throughout the game, and with such a low pitch count, coupled with the Astros' inability to muster anything against the right-hander, there was no reason to pull him.

"I didn't even talk to him in the eighth," Renteria said. "You don't want to disrupt how they're feeling. As a manager, if you're going to talk to them in the eighth, you might as well just take them out. Just let them keep flowing and concentrating on what they're doing. And he did it. He did a great job."

Max Stassi led off the eighth with a base hit to center, but even with Aaron Bummer warming up in the 'pen, Renteria was not tempted to make a move.

"I would have needed somebody else to get on base for me to start thinking about not allowing this to steamroll," he said. "Tactically, you're feeling your way through the whole thing and watching how they're throwing."

As Giolito addressed reporters at his locker, he noted the faint smell of a combination of mouthwash, shaving cream and beer that was left over from the celebratory "shower" he received from teammates when the game ended. It's tradition for a player to receive such a party following a momentous occasion, like after a rookie gets his first hit, or a pitcher gets his first win.

In this case, Giolito got the bonus shower for logging his first career complete game, which answers the question about how much legitimacy he put in his prior outing against the Blue Jays, also a complete game -- but only because it was called because of rain after five innings.

The win over the Astros, which required 107 pitches against multiple All-Star hitters, was a little more hard-fought.

"First hit, first homer, you're always going to have a beer shower," Giolito said. "This was my first real CG."

It was the White Sox first real one in a while, too. Before Giolito's past two outings, Chicago's pitchers had a streak of 382 games without throwing a complete game. Thursday's win marked the first nine-inning complete game since Chris Sale on Sept. 16, 2016.

Giolito was in firm control from the first pitch. He struck out eight and only once did a Houston batter get as far as second base -- the third inning, when Stassi advanced on Josh Reddick’s walk after being hit by a pitch.

“There was a rough patch in the third inning and we had that mound visit,” catcher James McCann said. “From that point, it was attack, attack, attack.”

Astros rookie starter Corbin Martin wasn't nearly as sharp, lasting just 3 1/3 innings after allowing all four runs (three earned), capped by Eloy Jimenez's sixth home run and his third in the last two games.

Giolito's gem snapped the Astros' streak of 19 straight games with a home run, which tied a franchise record.

“He was really good -- hats off to him for coming in and throwing all his pitches for strikes," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "He’s changed his delivery or his arm action a little bit, which got him in the strike zone. He generated a ton of swing and misses, soft contact. We got four hits. He came in and really commanded the game from the very beginning."

Splitting a series in Houston was no small feat, given what the Astros have done to opponents at home so far this year. They're 18-6 in Houston and have not lost a series yet. The only previous one they hadn’t won was a late April four-gamer with the Indians, which also resulted in a split.

Need more reason for optimism? In seven losses to Houston last year, the Sox were outscored by 40 runs. In the first four games of the season series so far, the Astros have scored 12 and the White Sox have scored 14.

"Any time you play a really good ballclub, you're trying to make your players understand what it takes to compete against a really good ballclub," Renteria said. "And they held their own."