Giolito deals, bats deliver in Chicago White Sox's 4-1 win vs. A's in Game 1
It was 12 years in the making, and the White Sox made it worth the wait.
In their first playoff game since 2008, the Sox looked a lot like the team that was stacking wins before stumbling down the stretch in the shortened regular season.
"I think it's just kind of a testament to our goals that we set at the beginning of the year," starting pitcher Lucas Giolito said after the White Sox beat the Athletics 4-1 at Oakland Coliseum in Game 1 of the best-of-three opening round of the postseason.
"We were sure we were going to make the playoffs. We knew we had the talent to do it. When it comes time to actually play in the playoffs, it's the same game."
Giolito was the first major-league pitcher to throw a no-hitter during the regular season, keeping the Pirates' bats quiet on Aug. 25 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
On Tuesday, Giolito took serious aim at becoming just the third pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs.
"The way he was throwing, you can kind of read him when he's on the mound," shortstop Tim Anderson said. "I call it he goes into like a bully stage where he starts hitting his spots, finding his spots and being so dominant. I've watched it all season long, and last season as well.
"I know when he's in his groove. He threw a heck of a game today. I couldn't be more proud of him."
Giolito had a perfect game going through 6 innings. Tommy La Stella ended the bid with a single up the middle leading off the seventh.
Coming back out for the eighth inning, Giolito walked leadoff hitter Mark Canha and was lifted after giving up a Jake Lamb single.
In the first playoff game of his career, and his first start at the Coliseum, Giolito gave up 1 run on 2 hits over 7 innings. Mixing his fastball, changeup and slider with near perfection, the White Sox's 26-year-old righty also had 8 strikeouts while throwing 100 pitches.
"A little bit," Giolito said when asked if Tuesday compared to his no-hitter against Pittsburgh. "It was a different feel, though, because throwing a perfect game no-hitter is a great personal accomplishment. But we are in the playoffs. The goal is to win the game.
"For me, it was all about giving the team the best possible chance to come out on top after nine innings, whether I throw six, seven, eight innings. It doesn't matter. I was just focused on executing each pitch."
The Sox were 14-0 against left-handed starters during the regular season, making the Athletics' decision to send rookie lefty Jesus Luzardo to the mound a curious move.
Luzardo lasted just 3⅓ innings, and he gave up a solo home run to Adam Engel in the second inning and Jose Abreu's 2-run shot in the third.
"It was good to get the first run across," Engel said. "Especially in the playoffs, the first team that scores, they're able to maybe take a deep breath a little bit. I was happy to be able to be that guy today."
Yasmani Grandal added a solo home run in the eighth inning, sealing the win after giving the White Sox a chance to eliminate the A's on Wednesday afternoon.
"The quicker you put what's perceived as negative behind you, the better," manager Rick Renteria said. "It requires confidence and trust in themselves. It was nice to see that ballgame today. It was a good ballgame for the Chicago White Sox."