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Facing the Twins for the third time in about a month, Lucas Giolito found a happy medium between the previous two. He wasn’t able to throw another three-hitter like he did the last time out, but he limited the damage to only two solo shots, or half the total he allowed to this lineup back on July 26.
Giolito didn’t have his best command. His fastball velocity resembled his peak stuff, but he hung a lot of secondary pitches, giving up the second homer on a spinning slider. That said, he came away with six innings of two-run ball and nine strikeouts, running his total to 203 for the season.
Alas, it wasn’t enough to win this particular game. The White Sox struggled to string together decent at-bats against a parade of tough right-handed pitchers, first and foremost Michael Pineda. Five Twins limited the Sox to a Tim Anderson solo shot, five other singles, a walk and an HBP while striking out 13.
The Sox only mounted one legit threat, and that’s when Ryan Goins and Yolmer Sánchez singled off Tyler Duffey with one out in the seventh. Matt Skole pinch-hit for Adam Engel and worked a 3-1 count, but he watched a pitcher’s pitch fastball for strike two and chased a sinker just off the plate for strike three. Leury García followed by making contact on his favorable count, but he lined out hard to third. They were the first two of eight consecutive Sox retired by the Twins to end the game.
Giolito fell to 14-7 on the season thanks to a couple of misplaced pitches in the second inning. An attempt to blow a high fastball past Marwin Gonzalez wasn’t high enough, and he ended up hitting 39-degree rainbow that carried well into the right-field seats.
After two strikeouts, Giolito spun an 0-1 slider to Jonathan Schoop, and Schoop socked it out with less doubt to left for a 2-0 lead.
Giolito kept the Twins in check after that, although he had some assistance from Jose Abreu, who started a pair of nifty double plays — one 3-5-3, one 3-6-3 and made a basket catch near the netting behind first. Giolito ended his night with a perfect changeup to Miguel Sanó — one of the few good ones he threw — for his ninth strikeout to strand a runner on second. If this is how he looks against a good lineup when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’ll be fine most nights.
The Twins did find insurance in the eighth thanks to curious reliever usage. Trailing by one with one out, Rick Renteria called on Josh Osich to turn around Jorge Polanco. When Polanco singled to right, Kelvin Herrera replaced him and gave up two singles to center to make it a 3-1 game. It could’ve been worse, but Eloy Jiménez made a sliding catch near the left-field line to save at least one run, and maybe two.
*Engel ran into a double play in the third. He was clipped into the hip with one out, then took off for second when García hit a fly to right. Engel stood on the bag to see if it would be caught, but when he turned around to head back, he stepped toward the third-base side of the bag before making his motion back to first, and Joe West ruled that Engel needed to re-touch second on the way back.
*Giolito joined exclusive company:
*Pineda is 4-0 against the White Sox this year.
*Goins served as DH for the first time in his career in his 526th game, which accurately reflects the lack of threats the Sox have against right-handed pitching.