CHICAGO (AP) — After struggling mightily last season, Lucas Giolito is developing into one of best starters in the majors.
The 24-year-old right-hander pitched five-hit ball into the eighth inning and Tim Anderson homered, lifting the Chicago White Sox to a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Giolito (8-1) struck out nine and walked none while improving to 6-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his last six starts. He hasn’t lost in almost two months.
The consistency is a far cry from a year ago when he was 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA in his first full season in the majors.
“It’s a little bit of a relief after last year,” he said. “I know a lot of people were doubting me, at times I doubted myself, but I went into the offseason with a new plan and the plan is working, so I’m gonna stick with it.”
Simply put, the plan is to throw more strikes and trust his stuff.
“He’s put in a lot of work,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s attacking the strike zone very effectively, mixing in all of his pitches, commanding the strike zone, first-pitch strikes — all those things that you want him to do.”
Aaron Bummer got two outs in the eighth and Alex Colomé finished for his 12th save in 12 chances.
Anderson led off the fourth with a drive to left-center for his ninth homer. He also doubled in Yolmer Sánchez with two out in the eighth, helping Chicago close out a 6-1 homestand.
Francisco Lindor had three of Cleveland’s six hits. He led off the ninth with a double to left, but Colomé retired the next three batters.
The Indians wasted a strong performance by Zach Plesac (0-1), who allowed four hits in seven innings in his second start in the majors.
The right-hander is the nephew of former major league reliever Dan Plesac, who pitched for six teams in 18 seasons.
“He fell behind a little dangerous hitter and paid for it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Plesac. “Other than that, he didn’t back down. It’s a shame we didn’t score because he pitched a great game.”
The closest thing the Indians had to a rally came in the fifth when Greg Allen doubled down the right-field line with one out. Roberto Pérez then lifted a drive to right-center in a bid for another extra-base hit, but Leury Garcia made a nice running catch on the warning track.
“I thought that one was on its way out, to be honest,” Giolito said. “Luckily the park held it and Leury made a heck of a catch.”
He then struck out Leonys Martín to end the threat.
Giolito exited after Pérez singled with one out in the eighth. Bummer came on and induced pinch hitter Jordan Luplow to bounce into an inning-ending double play.