Lucas Giolito’s second straight strong start just what White Sox needed

SAN FRANCISCO — Lucas Giolito gave the White Sox six innings of one-run ball Sunday, precisely what they needed on a day their top two relievers and only left-hander were unavailable.

Giolito pitched six innings of one-run, three-hit ball, recording strikeouts for his first seven outs, then relying on contact to finish a 102-pitch outing. His changeup was on point in his second straight strong start.

“This is probably the best my changeup has been in a really long while,” said Giolito, who got 12 swings and misses.

“I know when I execute pitches there is a good chance I’ll get swings and misses and weak contact. For me, it’s about singular pitch focus, this batter and this pitch.”

Giolito’s ERA soared from 2.53 to 5.60 in five starts from May 31 to June 22.

“We’ve been grinding, getting it right [mechanically] and I feel like myself from the end of my last start through this one,” he said.

Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and lefty Tanner Banks pitched in the first two games of the series in relief.

Top prospect streak at 40

Shortstop Colson Montgomery, the Sox’ first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2021 draft, has reached base safely in 40 straight games, including all nine since being promoted from Low-A Kannapolis to Advanced-A Winston-Salem on June 24.

The 6-4 Montgomery, 20, extended the remarkable streak with a double in his first at-bat for the Dash Sunday. He was hitting .330/.430/.498 with six homers, 13 doubles, 31 RBI, 38 runs scored and 31 walks in 52 games going into the game.

“He looks like a guy who’s been at this for a while,” Sox assistant general manager and director of player development Chris Getz said.

“On both sides of the ball he’s very under control.”

When Montgomery was out two weeks with a bruised thumb, he declined an opportunity to shake off rust and go to Arizona for live at-bats before returning to Kannapolis.

“Lo and behond he gets back in the lineup and he’s more productive than before,” Getz said.

Engel about ready

Adam Engel ran full tilt on the bases, perhaps the last box he needed to check before being activated from the injured list with a strained right hamstring.

“I’m really, really close,” Engel said. “Feels a lot better, lot stronger, getting really confident in it.”

Eloy Jimenez is also close to returning from his rehab assignment, perhaps this week.

Yasmani Grandal also ran the bases, but not as much or as hard as Engel. Grandal running “is a good sign,” La Russa said, “but I don’t think we’re close yet [to a minor league rehab assignment].”

This and that

Former Sox Yermin Mercedes was called up before the game and appeared as a catcher in the ninth inning, catching Austin Wynns, who started the game at catcher but mopped up in the ninth inning.

Mercedes doubled against Vince Velasquez, who gave up three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings before getting pulled.

*The Sox scored 13 runs without a homer and have three homers in the last 12 games.

*The Sox are batting .272/.321/.397 on the road compared to .233/.296/.355 at home.

“I guarantee you those numbers will be reversed at home from here to the end,” La Russa said. “We’re going to be a very good club at home.”

*The Sox are 7-1 all-time at Oracle Park.

*The Giants’ 40-37 record marks a 10-game difference from 2021 when they were 50-27 en route to a franchise-record 107 wins.

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