White Sox pounded 21-5, settle for series split with Astros

Lucas Giolito got knocked around by an unforgiving lineup, and the Astros kept pouring it on Thursday, delivering a 21-5 beatdown and sending the White Sox on the road with a disappointing four-game series split.

“Just a brutal day,” manager Tony La Russa said.

After the Sox scored perhaps their two most invigorating victories against the American League’s best team, they lost a one-run decision Wednesday and got pole-axed 21-5 Thursday afternoon before 24,407 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.

There’s no shame in splitting with the Astros, especially when played without Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, but the resounding clanks of 25 hits, eight of them against Giolito (5.34 ERA) in three-plus innings, must have left a mark. Vince Velasquez and Jose Ruiz gave up five runs each and second baseman Josh Harrison, pitching the ninth, gave up four more.

Alex Bregman was 4-for-6 with two homers and a career high six RBI. Yoan Moncada homered for the Sox, their only long ball of the series.

The Sox are 3-4 this season against Houston, which beat them three games to one in the ALDS last season and made it clear they’ll be tough to get by this October, too.

The Sox allowed 21-plus runs for the seventh time in franchise history and the first time since Aug. 30, 1970 against the Red Sox (also 21). The 21 runs are one shy of the club-record 22 set July 26, 1931 against the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees.

The 25 hits are tied for the second-most in club history, one shy of the franchise-record of 26 set June 20, 1932 against the Jimmie Foxx/Al Simmons Philadelphia Athletics.

Now come the Guardians, the surprising AL Central Central leaders, for three games in Cleveland. The Sox trail them by 2 1/2 games and trail the second-place Twins by 1 1/2 games.

“They have a bunch of hitters that use the whole field, they’re aggressive early, shorten up and put the ball in play,” La Russa said. “They have good speed and they’ll play nine hard innings. And they do a good job of pitching. They’re tough to score against, and the manager [Terry Francona] is outstanding and I’m sure the staff is too. Be fun this weekend.”

NOTES: Luis Robert, limited to one pinch running experience since hurting his left wrist on a slide Friday, had a full workout including swings in the batting cage as he eyes a possible return to the lineup Friday.

*Left-hander Aaron Bummer, working through a lat strain and shoulder soreness, threw his second bullpen, still needs another bullpen, one or two sim games and a rehab assignment to Charlotte before he can return to the bullpen. The target is September.

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