White Sox

Ross stuns White Sox with walk-off blast

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Ross stuns White Sox with walk-off blast

BOSTON --- Cody Ross stunned the White Sox again on Thursday night.

One game after he blasted a pair of three-run homers, Ross hit a game-winning three-run shot off Addison Reed in the ninth inning to deliver a 3-1 victory for the Red Sox in front of 38,413 at Fenway Park.

Ross homered with one out off Reed, who entered after Matt Thornton gave up two singles. The loss dropped the White Sox to 3-4 on their 10-game road trip and decreased the teams lead in the American League Central to 1 1 2 games over the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox open a three-game series at Detroit on Friday.

With Carl Crawford up and Adrian Gonzalez due up third, White Sox manager Robin Ventura went to Thornton to start the ninth inning.

Crawford singled but Thornton appeared to get a double play out of Dustin Pedroia. The throw by Eduardo Escobar skipped however and Gordon Beckham only got the force as he retrieved the ball. Gonzalez followed with a single and Reed was summoned. Ross homered on a 2-1 pitch over the Green Monster.

The loss also took away a victory from Jose Quintana, who pitched eight scoreless innings and out of two critical jams.

An invitee to spring training who had to pitch his way onto the 40-man roster, Quintana was on cruise control until the seventh inning.

He retired 19 of the first 20 hitters he had faced. But with one out, Pedroia singled to right and Gonzalez singled to left. Ross followed with a single to left, but third-base coach Jerry Royster elected to hold Pedroia at third rather than test the arm of White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

Will Middlebrooks and Quintana then battled for eight pitches until the rookie left-hander induced an inning-ending double play with the aid of a nifty play by shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Though he was falling, Ramirez retrieved the ball on a short-hop and flipped to second base to start the play.

Quintana -- who allowed five hits and walked none in eight innings -- sailed through the games first six innings.

He wasnt afraid to go inside and the Red Sox were aggressive. Though Quintana pitched to contact, it worked as he set down 18 of the first 19 batters he faced.

Even after Quintana allowed a two-out triple in the third inning, he battled back to strikeout Jacoby Ellsbury on three pitches to end the threat.

The White Sox were without Kevin Youkilis, who missed the game with a tight left hamstring.

The rest of their lineup couldnt muster up much against Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz only got into trouble once in eight innings. Adam Dunn led off with a walk and scooted all the way to third on a single to right by Paul Konerko, who finished 2-for-4. Alex Rios then lined one deep to right field for a sacrifice fly to provide the contests lone run.

Buchholz allowed a run and six hits in eight innings.

Beckham nearly drove in a run in the White Sox ninth, but his hit to right with Viciedo aboard bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.