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Giolito impresses in second White Sox start

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- A stellar second White Sox start for Lucas Giolito during a 7-1 victory over the Tigers on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field turned momentarily nerve-wracking in the seventh inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs, following a walk to JaCoby Jones, Jose Iglesias launched a 93.5-mph fastball down the left-field line, nestling into the stands right at the foul pole. Third-base umpire Nick Mahrley ruled the ball fair, meaning Iglesias' grand slam had cut the lead to 5-4 and ruined Giolito's quality outing with one swing of the bat. It also put in jeopardy Giolito's first career victory.

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CHICAGO -- A stellar second White Sox start for Lucas Giolito during a 7-1 victory over the Tigers on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field turned momentarily nerve-wracking in the seventh inning.

With the bases loaded and two outs, following a walk to JaCoby Jones, Jose Iglesias launched a 93.5-mph fastball down the left-field line, nestling into the stands right at the foul pole. Third-base umpire Nick Mahrley ruled the ball fair, meaning Iglesias' grand slam had cut the lead to 5-4 and ruined Giolito's quality outing with one swing of the bat. It also put in jeopardy Giolito's first career victory.

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But before the White Sox could even ask for a review, crew chief Jim Reynolds convened the umpires on the field and overturned the call. Iglesias grounded out to shortstop Tim Anderson, completing seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts and three hits and three walks allowed for the No. 59 prospect in all of baseball per MLBPipeline.com.

Getting through that scare and out of that jam became a learning experience and an example of Giolito's mound presence all in one.

"Off the bat, it was a little scary," Giolito said. "But then I saw it sail foul and I'm, like, 'All right, strike one. Let's get to the rest of this at-bat and get it out of this inning.'

"It took a little bit for the umpires to deliberate over it and everything. After that I was back to being locked in and trying to get them out."

Giolito threw fastballs on nearly 70 percent of his 99 pitches during Tuesday's White Sox debut against the Twins. He basically worked fastball/changeup the entire outing.

On Sunday, with 72 of his 104 pitches going for strikes, Giolito filled up the strike zone with a better balance. He threw 48 two-seamers, getting five of his 12 swings and misses on this pitch, and nine two-seamers per Statcast™. Giolito worked in 18 sliders and 12 changes, getting three swings and misses off each pitch.

His 17 curveballs had the highest exit velocity against, with a 93.5 mph average and a high point of 99.6. But in this commanding performance, everything was working.

"Well-pitched game by Giolito," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He wasn't one of these young pitchers that comes up throwing 95 to 97 mph. He pitched. He hit 92, 93, but he pitched."

"For the most part, I was throwing the slider pretty well. It was actually a pretty good swing-and-miss pitch at times," Giolito said. "It was one of those days where I was able to get all four of my pitches working for a strike, and then being able to throw that good one down when I needed it. It all worked together."

Catcher Kevan Smith earned plaudits from Giolito for calling a great game, helping Giolito maintain a smooth rhythm throughout the afternoon. All of these factors added up to that special winning decision following a 0-2 start to Giolito's promising career.

"He showed confidence, he showed perseverance," Smith said. "He battled through stuff without wearing his emotions on his face or looking up to the sky wondering why. He just got past it. I loved that about him."

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