It was only one start, but many Chicago White Sox fans, myself included, were encouraged by Lucas Giolito’s first start, when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Kansas City last week. But while he started strong again today, he could not keep it together toward the end of his outing.
The end result was an all-around team collapse, and a 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.
With two outs and nobody on in the third, Giolito issued a walk to Mallex Smith after being ahead in the count, 0-2. Ryan Haniger quickly followed with a double in the gap to drive in the first run of the game.
In the fourth, Jay Bruce led off with his fourth homer of the season. Giolito then issued a walk and a single, the latter of which Leury García turned into a double with an error. With runners on second and third, Ryon Healy followed with a two-run double, which increased the Mariners lead to 4-0.
Control was an issue for Giolito, as he issued four walks, and two of those came around to score. His final line: 4 1⁄3 innings, five runs (all earned), four walks, four strikeouts, 89 pitches (53 strikes, or 60%).
The White Sox showed little life on Saturday. In the bottom half of the fourth, José Abreu crushed a 1-2 pitch for a home run, his third of the season. His homer left the bat at 108.8 mph and went 434 feet, per Statcast.
The clout reduced the deficit to 4-1 — but unfortunately, the Mariners were not done.
In the fifth, White Sox reliever José Ruiz inherited a runner on first (a single off Giolito) with two outs. It went bad fast from there, as Edwin Encarnación singled and Tim Beckham continued his red-hot start to the season with a three-run homer.
Beckham’s bomb blew the game open, as the Mariners led, 7-1. The Mariners extended their lead to 8-1 in the sixth on a Domingo Santana two-out single.
On a positive note, Tim Anderson hit his second home run in as many days with a bomb in the bottom of the seventh to bring the Sox back within six.
Anderson was one of the few bright spots of the day, as he got two other hits to finish 3-for-4. His big game improved his slash line to an insane .500/.524/.850 (314 wRC+). Mercy, Tim.
Eloy Jiménez also had a great performance, as he went 3-for-4 (his first career three-hit game). Though all of his hits were singles, he had the highest exit velocity of the game for either team (111.3 mph on his second inning single, per Statcast). Jiménez also made a nice, running catch on a ball slicing away from him to take a double away from Mallex Smith in the eighth.
The Mariners scored again in the top of the ninth inning, as Jay Bruce hit his second home run of the afternoon. The solo shot extended the Mariners’ back to seven. It was the last run of the game for either side, as the Mariners prevailed by a score of 9-2.
Finally, though he is still just hitting .042 on the season with a couple of key errors, for the second straight game Yolmer Sánchez executed an unorthodox defensive play for the White Sox. While yesterday it was a smart read on a ground ball to extinguish Dan Vogelbach at third base, today was a bit more complicated, wth a deke that got Giolito out of a first-and-third situation in the top of the first. Credit Anderson with an assist, for immediately pointing out that Smith missed second base:
The loss dropped the White Sox back below .500, as they fell to 3-4. The Mariners still have the best record in the American League, improving to 8-2. The rubber match will start tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CST. It will be available on WGN 720 and televised on WGN. Year of the Hamster will bring you the game coverage.