Giolito: Win vs. Rangers a Sox playoff push ‘turning point’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
ARLINGTON, Texas – This year is not like last year.
That was Lucas Giolito’s message after the White Sox’ 7-2 win against the Rangers Sunday afternoon.
“Last year we kind of made the mistake of letting off the gas a little bit towards the end, especially after we clinched,” the right-hander said. “And so, I think that we learned from that mistake.”
For Giolito, Sunday’s win was a “really good” example. With the victory, the White Sox dropped their magic number to four. They should clinch a playoff berth on this road trip. But, as players and manager Tony La Russa won’t let anyone forget, they haven’t done it yet.
“Not too far away from it,” shortstop Tim Anderson said. “But we’ve got to continue to stay hungry heading toward October. And that’s when the real ball starts.”
The White Sox (85-64) don’t want to repeat last year’s Wild Card Series exit.
That’s why Sunday’s contest stood out to Giolito.
“Sometimes we come out a little bit flat on day games,” he said. “But today, everybody was in it. Every single guy in the dugout was in it. We were chirping, we were completely in the game pitch to pitch. I could feel that energy from the first inning.”
Coming off a one-run loss Saturday that featured just three hits from the White Sox, the offense got hot in the fourth inning Sunday.
Cleanup hitter Yasmani Grandal started the scoring spree with a solo homer to lead off the inning. Then, Gavin Sheets and Leury García each logged base hits – García bunting with two strikes on him -- to put two runners on for César Hernández. He hit a ground ball into left field to tack on two more runs.
With two outs, Anderson kept the rally going. He lined a single into right field, and Yoán Moncada followed him with a walk to load the bases. Next up was José Abreu, who dropped a Texas leaguer into right field, driving in two runs and giving him his 112th and 113th RBI of the season. He moved back up to the top of the leaderboard in that category, tied with Royals’ Salvador Perez.
“We wanted to win the series,” Anderson said. “We went out, and we brought it, and the bats were working today.”
For the White Sox pitching rotation, Sunday was another positive step. Holding the Rangers to one run through 5 1/3 innings, right-hander Lucas Giolito threw 97 pitches. It was his second game back from a two-week injured list stint with a strained left hamstring.
“Body feels really good,” Giolito said. “I feel really rested. The IL stint kind of rested me because that injury wasn’t really much of anything to begin with, so I feel like I’m in a really good spot.”
The White Sox enter a three-game series against the Tigers on Monday with an 11-game lead in the AL Central, before facing second-place Cleveland to wrap up the road trip.
“That’s right where we need to be for every single game,” Giolito said of the feeling around the team Sunday. “It doesn’t matter the opponent. It doesn’t’ matter the series score. It doesn’t matter home, road. I think that today was a really nice turning point in a way for that, where we can stay focused and stay energetic.”