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White Sox Minor League Update: May 25, 2017

Lucas Giolito throws a no-hitter, while Luis Martinez does the opposite

Jim Margalus / South Side Sox

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lucas Giolito needed Thursday night. Big time.

The 6-foot-6-inch, 225-pound righty, acquired by the White Sox from the Washington Nationals as the centerpiece of the Adam Eaton deal, had struggled all season. Entering Thursday, Giolito was 1-5 with an ERA of 6.41. Even worse, he had compiled an 0-2 record and a hefty 7.53 ERA at home.

Giolito found his form at just the right time for the Charlotte Knights Thursday, tossing a seven-inning no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs. The no-hitter was the third in Knights history, and the first for the the team since Andre Rienzo tossed a seven-inning gem in 2013 when the team resided in Fort Mill, S.C.. This one is the first in the history of BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte.

Giolito, who pitched last season for these same Syracuse Chiefs in upstate New York and still remains friends with some guys, felt he had a leg up on his former teammates entering the contest.

"I knew some of the guys in the lineup pretty well so I felt like I had a bit of an advantage going as far as their tendencies are concerned,” Giolito said.

Charlotte got solo home runs from Nicky Delmonico and Adam Engel and a two-run blast from Danny Hayes to account for all the Knights’ scoring on the evening. The game was a makeup after Wednesday's game was rained out.

But it was Giolito, who surrendered three walks while striking out three on 87 total pitches, who was the star of the game.

"I worked really well with (catcher) Carson Blair back there,” Giolito said. “When we looked back (after the game), I don't think I shook a pitch off, so we were really in sync. I already had pitches set up in my glove and 95 percent of the time we were on the same page. I didn't have to shake. Everything was working.

“He did a really good job blocking balls. He did an amazing job."

"I could tell (early on) he was confident, he was feeling good,” Blair said. “I didn't know he was aware (of the possible no-hitter). Obviously it's something I wasn't going to bring up to him, I just wanted to keep reinforcing positive things to him. He's a pretty loose guy, so sometimes he can be hard to read."

Giolito admitted postgame it was around the fifth inning when he began to realize he was on to something.

"With it being a seven-inning game, it's like, ‘All right, I need six more outs.’ The game plan was still one pitch at a time, that's kind of my mantra. But yeah, it's there in the back of your mind trying to get through those outs without giving up a hit."

Knights manager Mark Grudzielanek was encouraged by the outing. "He mixed it up really nice tonight. His changeup looked good and he mixed in a curveball, it was probably one of his best outings so far this year for us,” he said.

After allowing a walk to Brandon Snyder in the first inning, Giolito retired 11 straight Chiefs hitters, getting seven flyouts and four groundouts.

"Fastball command has been something I've been working on for the past two weeks,” Giolito said.

“This was my best showing of it, being able to command the fastball on both sides of the plate and using the two-seamer as well. It led to all the early weak contact that I wanted."

Giolito is hoping Thursday start was the beginnings of a more consistent pattern of success, saying, "I'm starting to turn the season around a bit, I'm feeling really good right now."

"(Lucas) had a wonderful day today,” said Grudzielanek. “He needs to continue it, hopefully it comes out more often for us."

— Jonathan Lee

Top prospects at a glance

  • Lucas Giolito: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Michael Kopech: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
  • Zack Collins: 1-for-3, 2B, BB, K
  • Luis Alexander Basabe: 2-for-4, SB, CS

Charlotte 4, Syracuse 0

  • Jacob May went 0-for-2 with a walk.
  • Nicky Delmonico, 2-for-3 with a homer.
  • Danny Hayes homered, walked and struck out.
  • Adam Engel was 1-for-3 with 1-for-3 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Rymer Liriano was 0-for-3.
  • Lucas Giolito: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 50 of 87 pitches for strikes.

Syracuse 8, Charlotte 4

  • Jacob May homered, singled, struck out, was plunked and stole a base.
  • Nicky Delmonico was 1-for-4 with a double.
  • Danny Hayes, 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Adam Engel, 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout.
  • Rymer Liriano was 0-for-3.

Mobile 5, Birmingham 2

  • Eddy Alvarez was 0-for-3 with a walk. He was picked off.
  • Nick Basto, 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Michael Kopech: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K

Myrtle Beach 11, Winston-Salem 4

  • Zack Collins went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and strikeout.
  • Luis Alexander Basabe was 2-for-4, and 1-for-2 on the basepaths.
  • Johan Cruz homered and struck out four times.
  • Luis Martinez’s High-A debut: 0 IP, 4 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 HBP.
  • Myrtle Beach scored all 11 of its runs in the first inning.

Greensboro 9, Kannapolis 8 (10 innings)

  • Joel Booker went 4-for-5 with a homer, a strikeout and a stolen base.
  • Jameson Fisher, 3-for-5 with a strikeout. He was caught stealing.
  • Chris Comito: 3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Micker Adolfo was 1-for-4 with one strikeout.