Lucas Giolito slammed; three players exit early

In another game, were Lucas Giolito to approach his problematic 75-pitch mark with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Tony La Russa might’ve been inspired to have the bullpen ready to enter. There’s also a chance that he would’ve stood pat because some starters he believes should go five innings regardless, but Giolito’s body of work this season shows a guy who struggles early and late.

But today’s game was a quick turnaround after a 12-inning game the night before, the White Sox already trailed 2-0 on a pair of Alejandro Kirk run-scoring hits, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made it 3-0 with a one-out RBI single in the fourth. Chasing a low-probability win with two-thirds of a game to cover seemed like it could’ve done more harm than good, so after two more singles loaded the bases, it was Ethan Katz who came out for a visit instead of La Russa .

Giolito then fell behind Bo Bichette 2-0 with a fastball and a slider. He tried to get back into the count with a changeup. Bichette anticipated the correct pitch and launched it over the White Sox bullpen for a game-breaking grand slam.

And Giolito might be the least of the White Sox’s problems. Danny Mendick left the game barely putting weight on his right knee after colliding with Adam Haseley in foul territory along the left-field line, Adam Engel departed with a hamstring issue, and Luis Robert left with what La Russa called “leg soreness” after jogging out a single that would’ve been an easy double when Gurriel missed on his diving-catch attempt. And José Abreu still can’t run, either.

The White Sox were able to make the score closer than it seemed. They actually surpassed the Blue Jays in baserunners, matching them with 13 hits, drawing one more walk and reaching on an error.

The problem was that 12 of those 13 hits were singles, and two were erased by double plays. Balls that were hit well enough for extra bases were limited to one (besides Robert’s jogging single, Andrew Vaughn smoked two wall balls that came right back to Gurriel).

The Sox also needed Toronto’s help in their three scoring innings. Josh Harrison scored from first in the sixth inning because of Gurriel’s missed dive, Jake Burger led off the seventh with a “triple” that Bradley Zimmer should’ve caught in deep center, and while they kept the line moving in the eighth inning on their own, Santiago Espinal mishandled a flip attempt on an Adam Haseley grounder to give the Sox an extra out while bringing the tying run to the plate. Harrison couldn’t repeat his heroics from Tuesday (popped out), and Leury Garcia grounded out.

The Sox weren’t sharp on defense themselves. One batter before Haseley collided with Mendick, he was slow in returning Gabriel Moreno’s grounder to the infield, allowing Moreno to stretch it into the double. AJ Pollock also airmailed a throw home, although the Blue Jays were kind enough not to advance.

It wasn’t great, but after Giolito dug such a big hole, the margin was too large for such marginal plays to factor in. By the end of it, three-quarters of the lineup was playing out of position, with Seby Zavala at first, Vaughn at second and Harrison at short. Vaughn nearly overthrew Zavala on a routine groundout to end the eighth inning, but his fielding percentage remains 1,000.

Bullet points:

* Matt Foster and Tanner Banks handled the final four innings between them, with Foster giving up a two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez in his return from the bereavement list.

* Toronto hitting coach Guillermo Martinez was ejected during the pregame lineup exchange, presumably bringing up Doug Eddings’ avant-garde strike zone from the night before.

Record: 33-34 | Box score | Statcast

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