Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito’s best outing in a month — including back-to-back strikeouts of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the fifth inning — went to waste in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in front of 21,973 on Monday at Angel Stadium.
The Sox took the lead in the top of the seventh, only to give it away in the bottom of the inning as they began a six-game trip on a sour note.
“In position to win a game, it breaks your heart not to hold it for (Giolito),” manager Tony La Russa said.
Taylor Ward put the Angels ahead with a two-run double against reliever Reynaldo López. The Sox have lost five of six.
Giolito allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk in six innings, fanning Trout and Ohtani twice apiece. He had allowed at least four earned runs in four of his previous five starts.
“My overall confidence wasn’t shaken,” Giolito said. “I’m not going to sit here and say everything is great and everything is perfect and I’m going to go out and dominate every start. Anything can happen. It was very frustrating to get into bad habits and allow myself to perform the way I’ve performed for multiple starts in a row.
“But my job as a starter is to go out there and take the ball and give us a chance to win. I’m pleased I did that (Monday). Not pleased we lost the game, but it’s how it goes sometimes. I’m just going to continue to put in the work and lock in these adjustments.”
The two runs he surrendered came in a strange sequence. Brandon Marsh hit a long fly to right in the second. Sox right fielder Gavin Sheets raced near the short wall and briefly had the ball in his glove, but it popped out.
At first glance, it appeared to bounce off the top of the wall, hit a fan and then bounce back into play. It was originally ruled a two-run homer.
But after a review, it was clear the ball did not hit the fan. It was changed to an RBI triple.
“Felt like I had a good jump. I thought I had it,” Sheets said. “I hit the wall and checked the glove and still thought I had it. And obviously found it was over on the side and got it in as quick as I could.
“It’s frustrating. Obviously a ball that’s a tough play, one that I wanted and thought I had. When you’ve got Gio on the mound, you know runs are tough to come by for the other team and you want to make a play for him in that situation.”
Marsh scored moments later when Andrew Velazquez’s hard-hit comebacker ricocheted off Giolito’s foot and into shallow right for a single.
While the Angels made the most of their early breaks, the Sox didn’t capitalize on some of their chances.
Tim Anderson collected their first hit with a leadoff single in the fourth. He stole second — the 100th stolen base of his career — and moved to third with one out on another stolen base.
But Luis Robert flied out to shallow center and José Abreu flied out to right.
An inning later, Sheets doubled and reached third on a grounder with two outs. Noah Syndergaard struck out Josh Harrison to end the inning.
The Sox finally broke through in the sixth. Anderson drew a one-out walk. Vaughn brought him home with a double to left. Abreu tied the game with a two-out double to left.
The Sox took the lead in the seventh after Sheets singled and moved to second when Syndergaard couldn’t cleanly field Seby Zavala’s bunt. Harrison drove in Sheets with a single to center, but Zavala was out venturing a little too far after rounding second.
“I can’t believe this happened,” La Russa said. “Overran the base. Big out. Mistakes. Mistakes part of the game.”
The Sox had the lead but it was short-lived.
López walked Max Stassi, and Marsh singled. They moved up on a bunt, and Ward followed with the two-run double just out of Robert’s reach near the wall in right-center.
“Game of inches,” La Russa said.
Abreu put a charge into the crowd with a high fly to deep center leading off the ninth, but Trout made the catch near the wall. And second baseman Luis Rengifo made a nice play to rob Leury García for the final out as the Sox came up just short again.
“It’s always the time,” Giolito said when asked if this is a critical juncture for the team to start gaining ground. “You don’t want to be losing baseball games. At the same time it’s a long season and we’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity, injuries-wise.
“For me, personally, I’m pleased with some of the aspects of my start (Monday). It makes me feel a lot better about the work I’m putting in and continue to put in to continue to make these adjustments. Overall, yeah, it’s always time to try and put things together (in) every facet of the game and win series.”