In the postgame discussion, White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti noted the number on the front of Lucas Giolito's jersey: 27.
The number of outs in a game.
On Tuesday, also the number of outs Giolito recorded without giving up a hit.
Giolito dominated a hapless Pirates club en route to the truncated season's first no-hitter, striking out 13 in a 4-0 White Sox victory. The no-hitter was the 19th in White Sox history, and the first since Philip Humber's unlikely perfect game in 2012.
"I've been working for this type of game for a while now," Giolito told Benetti and color analyst Steve Stone in the postgame interview. "It's really cool that we got it done."
As with fellow American League Central starter Kenta Maeda's near no-no last week, Giolito's historic evening was well-deserved. The right-hander gave up just two hard-hit balls all evening -- one being the last out of the game -- and got 30 swinging strikes for a 48 percent called strike plus whiff rate (CSW), both of which were single-game highs for a starter in 2020.
Giolito walked just one while throwing 101 pitches to accomplish the feat. He did it with his usual three-pitch mix, hammering right-handers with sliders away and fooling lefties with a combination of high fastballs and disappearing changeups.
As with most seemingly herculean performances, Giolito got by with a little help from his friends as well. The closest the Pirates came to scuttling his no-hit bid was in the seventh inning, when Bryan Reynolds hit a cue shot up the middle that tailed away from a shifted Tim Anderson. Anderson gloved the ball on a soft bounce and, with his body carrying him away from first base, fired a strike to beat the speedy outfielder by a half-step.
The 26-year-old said it was after the seventh inning when he knew the no-hitter was within reach, but he still had to overcome the Bucs hitters -- and his own nerves -- in the ninth to finish it off. After striking out Jarrod Dyson and getting Jose Osuna to fly out, Giolito got two quick strikes on Erik Gonzalez before leaving an 0-2 fastball over the center of the plate. Gonzalez slashed it to right field but Adam Engel, playing shallow, gloved the sinking liner to end the game.
"The defense was unbelievable," Giolito said. "You can't do something like that without the whole team behind you."
The postgame celebration on the field was that of a team happy for their man, one who's been through his share of ups and downs since he was a first-round pick of the Nationals in 2012. Giolito rose to the ranking of the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball before struggling in the majors to the point that 2019 might have been his last best shot with the Sox.
He finally put it all together last year, posting a 3.41 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 176 2/3 innings of work, and after Tuesday's outing he's now got a 3.09 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in seven starts this year. If 2020 is his encore, Tuesday's outing was one heck of a crescendo.
Clevinger Cued Up
From a pitcher on top of the world to one trying to climb out of the depths of the doghouse, Mike Clevinger's redemption tour is set to start Wednesday.
The Indians on Tuesday announced the right-hander, who's been at the team's alternate training site for the past 11 days after violating health and safety protocols, will start their series finale against the Twins. Clevinger hasn't pitched in a major league game since August 5 but has been throwing at the Lake County, Ohio site, throwing 85 pitches in a simulated game last week.
"I think Mike has had the chance to reflect upon a lot over the course of the last week-to-10 days and is really eager to rejoin the team and get back up here and help us win games," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "And I know in talking to our players, we're all ready to have him back and looking forward to him go out tomorrow night and pitch the way we all know he's capable of pitching."
Not joining him is fellow rulebreaker Zach Plesac, who's also been at the alternate site since it was discovered the duo left their Chicago hotel during a recent road trip. In the wake of the recent, impressive debut of pitching prospect Triston McKenzie and boasting a major league rotation rolling behind the likes of Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale, Antonetti said the team didn't have room for Plesac at the moment.
"I followed up and talked with Zach to explain the decision and let him know that we don't yet have an opportunity for him at the Major League level," Antonetti said. "But as we all have seen time and time again, that can change very quickly. So it's up to him to continue to pitch the way he's capable of pitching, continue to put in the work and be an option for us whenever we have the opportunity for it."
Clevinger has a lot to prove to his teammates off the field, but the right-hander also has some work to do on the field for an Indians team battling with the White Sox and Twins for the AL Central title. Despite a nice-looking 3.24 ERA through his first three starts this year, the 29-year-old has a 1.32 WHIP and 15/10 K/BB ratio that tell the story of a pitcher still looking for his groove.
That makes Wednesday's start -- his last before next Monday's trade deadline, for what it's worth -- an important one for everyone involved. We'll see if Clevinger can, for once this season, meet the moment.
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National League Quick Hits: Braves activated OF Ronald Acuña Jr. from the 10-day injured list. Acuña was cleared after taking on-field batting practice again on Sunday. The dynamic outfielder has been out since August 11 with left wrist inflammation, but he's feeling better now. He returns to a .258/.372/.515 with four homers, nine RBI, one steal, and 12 runs scored through 18 games this season ... Charlie Blackmon (quad) was back in the Rockies' starting lineup Tuesday versus the Diamondbacks. Blackmon was scratched from the lineup Monday due to left quad tightness. It was clearly a relatively minor issue ... Justin Turner (hamstring) was back in the Dodgers' starting lineup Tuesday against the Giants. Turner sat out Sunday's series finale against the Rockies because of a sore hamstring. It was the result of a hit-by-pitch, not a strain or tweak of any kind, and he showed no ill effects Tuesday, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored ... Ozzie Albies (wrist) took batting practice from both sides of the plate Tuesday and felt good. The Braves will see how he recovers before deciding on the next step, but it's a very positive sign. He could be a few days away. Albies has been out since August 5 with a bone contusion in his right wrist ... Mets placed INF Andrés Giménez on the 10-day injured list. The Mets didn't disclose the reason for the move. We know at least one position player came down with COVID-19 and was actually symptomatic. It's unclear when Giménez will be ready to return. The Mets will also be without coaches Hensley Meulens and Gary DiSarcina for unspecified periods of time ... Braves purchased the contract of RHP Ian Anderson from their alternate training site. Anderson will make his major league debut Tuesday against the Yankees. A consensus top-50 prospect coming into the year, posted a 3.38 ERA and 172/65 K/BB ratio in 135 2/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A last season. Control is a work in progress for him, but he sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and features a plus-changeup. He's worth an add in mixed leagues on upside alone, though there will surely be some growing pains ... according to SNY's Andy Martino, the Yankees have called the Giants to inquire about the availability of right-hander Kevin Gausman. As noted by Martino, the Yankees have also been in touch with the Indians about Mike Clevinger and the Mariners about Taijuan Walker -- and possibly Marco Gonzales. Gausman, 29, currently holds a 4.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 42/6 K/BB ratio in 31 innings of work this season with San Francisco. He was signed to a one-year, $9 million contract over the winter and is scheduled to become a free agent in November ... Josh Hader fired a perfect ninth inning against the Reds on Tuesday to record his seventh save of the season. Hader was summoned to protect a one-run lead in the final frame and needed only nine pitches to dispatch the heart of the Reds’ lineup. The hard-throwing 26-year-old lefty got Eugenio Suarez to fly out to left field, Mike Moustakas to ground out and Matt Davidson to line out to center field to end the contest. Hader has literally been unhittable, allowing only five base runners -- zero hits, five walks -- over 9 1/3 scoreless frames this season. There's some chatter about the Brewers fielding trade calls for him, but the asking price is said to be astronomical ... Braves optioned OF Cristian Pache to their alternate training site. Pache was called up with Nick Markakis hitting the COVID-19 injured list and he'll head back to the alternate training site now that the veteran outfielder has been cleared to return. The 21-year-old went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts during his first stint in the majors. It shouldn't be long before he's up for good.
American League Quick Hits: Yankees activated OF Aaron Judge from the 10-day injured list. He said over a week ago that he was at 100 percent, so hopefully the calf issue is behind him. The 28-year-old was off to a great start prior to the injury, hitting .290/.343/.758 with nine homers and 20 RBI over 17 games ... George Springer (elbow) sat out both games of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Angels. Springer took a pitch off his left elbow during Monday's game, but fortunately X-rays came back negative ... while celebrating Giolito's no-no Tuesday, Eloy Jimenez twisted his ankle in the postgame festivities. Jimenez was on the ground for a moment or two but eventually climbed to his feet and walked off the field under his own power. He could be seen laughing with his teammates in the aftermath. White Sox manager Rick Renteria didn't seem all that concerned about the issue in his postgame Zoom chat with the media, though it could be something to monitor over the remainder of this week. Jimenez will be reevaluated Wednesday ... Josh Donaldson (calf) has been taking at-bats in intrasquad games at the Twins' alternate training site. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters on Tuesday that there should soon be more clarity on a potential return date for the start third baseman and added that he is "tracking really well." Donaldson has been on the injured list since August 7, retroactive to August 4, because of a strained right calf ... Ken Giles (arm) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. Assuming Giles feels good coming out of that one, he'll throw another bullpen session before throwing live batting practice. It's possible he could pitch in games again after that. It's unlikely we'll see him until early-to-mid September in the best-case scenario, but he's making progress. Anthony Bass and Jordan Romano figure to share the closer role for now ... Tyler Glasnow fanned 13 while holding the Orioles to two runs over seven innings in the Rays' 4-2 victory Tuesday. It's the first 2019-esque showing from Glasnow this year. He walked just one and threw 72 of his 96 pitches for strikes. He hadn't thrown more than 51 strikes in any of his previous five starts. We'd love to see more of this going forward, but he probably can't be counted on for consistency just yet. Fortunately, he does have a pretty good matchup against the Marlins on deck this weekend ... Shane Bieber yielded two runs in six innings and struck out 10 as the Indians topped the Twins 4-2 on Tuesday. Bieber took some damage for the first time in three starts and just the third time in seven starts on the season. He's reached double figures in strikeouts five times now, and he's the first pitcher this season to reach six victories. He'll likely get the Royals next, unless the Indians want to move him up to pitch on regular rest Sunday against the Cardinals ... Trevor Rosenthal nailed down his seventh save of the season in the Royals' 5-4 defeat of the Cardinals on Tuesday. Rosenthal gave up a one-out triple to Harrison Bader and then hit Kolten Wong with a pitch, but he rallied to strike out Tommy Edman with a wicked changeup and then got Paul Goldschmidt on a chopper to short to end the game and preserve the Royals' one-run lead. Rosenthal boasts a 1.46 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings this season and ranks among the most attractive relievers on the trade market leading into next week's August 31 deadline ... Jalen Beeks was removed from an appearance Tuesday night against the Orioles due to an apparent elbow/forearm injury. Beeks was in the game for a potential two-inning save opportunity, but he got lifted shortly after recording the first out in the top of the ninth. Edgar Garcia replaced him on the mound and finished off the 4-2 victory over the O's. Rays manager Kevin Cash didn't have much information to share in his postgame Zoom chat with reporters, but he did note that it "sounded similar" to Andrew Kittredge's UCL tear from earlier this season ... Nate Pearson (elbow) has been diagnosed with a flexor strain. Pearson received a second opinion on the condition of his elbow on Monday. He's hoping to play catch this weekend to gauge his progress. There's only a month remaining in the season, so the Blue Jays and fantasy players would do well to avoid expecting much the rest of the way ... Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees are among the teams asking about Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker. The Mariners and Yankees have gotten together on several trades in recent years and they could make sense again as New York searches for starting pitching depth in the wake of James Paxton's flexor strain. The 28-year-old Walker made just four appearances between 2018-2019, but he's impressed so far this year with a 4.00 ERA and 25/8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings across five starts. He's due to be a free agent this offseason and figures to be one of the more attractive rental pitchers on the trade market leading up to August 31 ... Wednesday's game between the Angels and Astros has been postponed in anticipation of Hurricane Laura. Hurricane Laura is expected to become a major hurricane before landfall, likely hitting the Gulf Coast late Wednesday and early Thursday. MLB is being proactive in this situation, though it's unclear what will happen with the Astros games this weekend. Wednesday's game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on September 5 in Anaheim.