Lucas Giolito Dazzles as White Sox Take Game 1 vs. Athletics

Brett Ballantini

As much as Tim Anderson may have telegraphed it, Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin was gambling with his pick of Jesús Luzardo to start Game 1 of the Wild Card series.

The lefthander was bounced from his start with one out in the fourth inning, achieving considerable swings-and-misses. However, what the White Sox didn't miss, they hit hard—Adam Engel twice, with a solo homer that broke the ice on scoring in the second, and a double that knocked Luzardo from the game in the fourth.

Flip side, Lucas Giolito sidestepped the trap that can sometimes be his first inning, going 1-2-3 while working quickly despite getting squeezed on some borderline calls. Oakland was getting some hard contact as well, and Giolito wasn't falling back on strikeout stuff early, whiffing just one of the first 10 batters he faced.

In fact, Giolito took a perfect game 76 pitches into the seventh, and was just one of five pitchers to take a perfect game into the seventh in MLB postseason history. Ironically, just as the ESPN broadcast started flashing those perfect game stats, literally the pitch they did so, Tommy La Stella grounded a ball back through the box for the first hit of the game.

In case there were any early jitters for the White Sox hitters, dueling MVP candidates Tim Anderson and José Abreu both singled in the first.

Leading off the second inning, Engel took a 96 mph, thigh high, middle of the plate Luzardo fastball out for the first run of the game, on an 0-2 pitch at that. Engel seemed to say WHOA after making contact and watched the track of the ball, and he hit home plate after a brisk sprint around the bases with a loud LET'S GO! 

An inning later, José Abreu knocked a two-run shot in roughly the same spot—about 30 feet farther.

Meanwhile, Giolito was dealing, as he took until the last out of the fifth before Jake Lamb barreled him up—but Luis Robert gobbled it up with a sliding catch in left-center.

Yasmani Grandal added an insurance run leading off the top of the eighth, crushing a home run deep to right field. 

In the bottom of the eighth, the A's rallied to drive Giolito from the game after two hits and a walk against eight Ks through seven. Oakland answered the insurance run with an RBI ground out from Ramon Laureano, but Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer otherwise limited the damage.

Alex Colomé came on for an efficient save, with a perfect ninth.

In the other game in Chicago's bracket, Houston knocked off the Twins, 4-1.

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Mark Liptak
Mark Liptak

And as much as I rip on the Sox manager, deservedly so, you have to give him credit. He benched Encarnation and he benched Mazara, two stiffs. Now do it again tomorrow please, and get Eloy out there as the DH.

Mark Liptak
Mark Liptak

The Sox followed Joe Maddon's mantra today, "Try not to suck!"...LOL

"Winning is fun; fun is winning..." - Ozzie Guillen.

Now, wrap this up before a game #3 and they'll have to beat a former Sox pitcher to do it. I'm sure the GM is hoping so, he traded the guy in an awful deal for Shark.