Amed Rosario led off the fourth for the Cleveland Guardians with an infield hit. He advanced to second on a throwing error by Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
The game was scoreless. And Lucas Giolito made sure it remained that way, with some help from his defense.
AJ Pollock made a great running catch near the right-field line on José Ramírez’s fly ball for the first out. Giolito struck out Josh Naylor, and Franmil Reyes hit a pop-up in foul territory that catcher Seby Zavala nabbed with his glove over the railing near the third-base dugout.
Giolito called the plays “massive.”
“Our job (as starters), we want to go as deep as we can and we want to get as many outs as we can,” he said. “To get that support from the defense, it really lightens the load. Throwing less pitches, it’s great for the energy.”
Giolito allowed one unearned run on five hits in 6⅓ innings as the Sox beat the Guardians 2-1 in front of 13,987 on Wednesday to earn a split of the four-game series at Progressive Field.
“The goal is to always give the team a chance to win, and I feel like I did that,” Giolito said.
Giolito struck out five and walked one as the right-hander followed Dylan Cease’s strong outing in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader with one of his own.
“I just think he used his pitches,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He used his fastball really well. He’s got a really good fastball and then he’s able to use his off-speed in any count, which you can’t really game plan for him.
“He’s liable to throw any of his four pitches in any count. Ahead in the count, behind in the count. It’s tough to hit against.”
The Sox played the final three innings without Eloy Jiménez, who exited with tightness in his right leg. The left fielder hobbled after making a running catch in left-center for the final out of the sixth.
The Sox said Jiménez is day to day.
He was on the injured list from April 24 to July 6 after suffering a torn hamstring tendon behind his right knee running to first against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. His rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte had a brief pause for what the team called “normal leg soreness.”
“He felt a little cramp,” La Russa said after Wednesday’s game. “He thinks it’s a little bit like what he felt when he was getting ready (with Charlotte). They are going to check it (Thursday).
“Right now, knock on wood, we don’t think he reinjured it. Probably give him a couple of days off, but we’ll find out more (Thursday).”
Guardians starter Aaron Civale left after the first with right wrist soreness. The Sox saw a parade of relievers and broke through against Sam Hentges in the sixth.
Yoán Moncada led off with a walk and moved to second on Luis Robert’s single. José Abreu drove in Moncada with a double to right. Robert scored when Andrew Vaughn grounded out to short.
Giolito exited after allowing a single and a walk with one out in the seventh. The Guardians scored with two outs on a fielding error by second baseman Josh Harrison, but Reynaldo López got Myles Straw to ground out to Harrison to end the threat.
Kendall Graveman struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Liam Hendriks struck out two in the ninth for his 18th save.
“If we can get six innings and hand it off to those guys, we’re in really good hands,” Giolito said. “I’d like to go seven, eight, nine. Obviously we all want to as starters. But got into a little trouble there in the seventh and handed off and they did their thing.”
The Sox head into a four-game series against the division-leading Twins on a positive note.
“Big wins,” Giolito said. “These games against teams in our division, considering where we’re at, it’s important that we can take as many W’s as we can.
“I feel like splitting the series was big considering how it started for us. Got good vibes going into this last series before the (All-Star) break.”