White Sox turn to Giolito for chance to split with Astros
The sting of being on the receiving end of a vintage Justin Verlander performance didn't linger for the more youthful members of the Chicago White Sox, who on Wednesday displayed the resiliency that will serve them well as the plate appearances accumulate during their rookie campaigns.
One night after finishing a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, rookie outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Charlie Tilson went 3-for-8 with three homers, four runs and six RBIs in a 9-4 win over the host Houston Astros. That result gives the White Sox a chance to earn a series split with a win Thursday in the finale of a four-game series.
Jimenez flashed the potential of a top prospect, slugging two mammoth home runs that covered 846 feet with exit velocities of 106.2 and 109.9 mph. His first homer, off Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, carried to center field. His second, and fifth of the season, went the opposite way to right-center off Brady Rodgers, giving Jimenez his second multi-homer game.
Tilson, meanwhile, broke open a tight contest with his first career homer: a grand slam off flame-throwing right-hander Josh James with two outs in the sixth inning. Tilson left no doubt with his 404-foot shot to right, providing the White Sox a glimpse of their youngsters' future.
"It's a big pick-me-up," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Basically what it does is it reaffirms what they're capable of doing. This is a very good club on the other side, and they've got some good chuckers. We were fortunate."
Right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-1, 3.35 ERA) gets the mound assignment Thursday for the White Sox. He is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA over his previous three starts, earning his team-leading fifth victory on Saturday after allowing one run on three hits over five innings in a 4-1 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Giolito has a career-high four-game winning streak. He is 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA over three career starts against the Astros, with an 0-2 mark and a 2.57 ERA in Houston.
Rookie right-hander Corbin Martin (1-0, 3.86 ERA) will pitch the series finale for the Astros. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks over four innings in his second career start on Saturday at Boston. He did not factor into the decision as the Astros won 7-3.
Martin was victorious in his debut on May 12, recording nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers.
Cole's rough outing on Wednesday brought a bit of concern: his four-seam fastball velocity was down.
Cole, who leads the majors with 100 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings, entered averaging 97.4 mph with his fastball in his 10 starts this season. That velocity was down to 94.7 on 55 four-seamers against Chicago, with Cole finally touching 98.8 as things unraveled in the sixth.
Cole is vital to the Astros' championship hopes, and in the aftermath of his performance, he described his showing as just a rough night on the mound and nothing more foreboding.
"I was just off," Cole said. "It wasn't a good night. I wasn't synced up enough in my delivery. I was off a little bit in my conviction and some of the pitches I was throwing. I was able to navigate pretty good through the first five. It just spiraled out in the sixth."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 23, 2019