Lucas Giolito did his part Sunday.
“I had really good stuff today,” the White Sox’s starting pitcher said. “Good life on my fastball.”
Pitching six innings against the Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field, Giolito allowed two runs and piled up a career-high 13 strikeouts.
That’s what you call a pitcher giving his team a chance to win, but the Sox’s bats were silent in a 2-0 loss to Oakland.
Oakland managed only five hits and struck out 16 times in the game, but Matt Olson was able to decide the outcome in the fourth inning with a two-run homer. He followed Matt Chapman, who almost went deep himself but settled for a double off the top of the right-field fence.
“It was just a mental lapse for one inning,” Giolito said. “Went out there in the fourth inning and didn’t have my focus like I had the other innings. You do that in the big leagues, they’re going to hurt you. Double, homer real quick.
“It was one of those days where I had to be putting up zeroes to give our team a chance, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.”
Don’t blame Giolito, who has blossomed into a star this season.
The Sox were held to five hits as they lost for the 10th time in their past 12 home games. They have scored three runs or fewer 11 times over that stretch.
A’s starter Chris Bassitt, who pitched for the Sox in 2014 before being traded to Oakland, pitched seven stellar innings.
“Every time I pitch against these guys, I’m going to try to prove to them that they made a mistake,” Bassitt said.
Manager Rick Renteria continued to credit the opposing starters for shutting down the Sox’s offense.
“Tip your cap to Bassitt today; he did a nice job,” Renteria said. “You’re starting to see some good pitching. We’re trying to scrap and do everything we can to put a line together and score some runs. They’ve been low-scoring games.
“I think at the end of the day, [with] one or two runs, the way these guys have been throwing and our guys have been throwing, you can win a ballgame. I wouldn’t say so much that you’ve got [Sox hitters] that are struggling. I think good pitching does that to good hitting, period. All these guys try to put together as good of at-bats as they can.”
Herrera returns: A day after optioning relief pitcher Jose Ruiz to Triple-A Charlotte, the Sox reinstated Kelvin Herrera from the injured list.
Signed to a two-year, $18 million contract in January, Herrera has been a major disappointment with a 3-3 record and 7.22 ERA.
The 29-year-old righty was out since July 18 with a right oblique strain.
“Obviously, he’s wanted to do better than he has,” Renteria said. “Health-wise, he’s feeling more and more comfortable with everything he’s had to go through. He had the back issue, he had the foot issue. Continuing to pitch and being able to put himself back on track is what we’ve been wanting to have him do.”
Herrera pitched Sunday and retired two Oakland hitters after giving up a one-out single in the ninth inning. Looking healthy, he got his fastball up to 98 mph.