Things were going so well for Lucas Giolito and the White Sox.
Zeroes on the scoreboard. Brilliant defensive plays. Timely hitting.
And then, in the eighth inning, things stopped going well for Giolito and the Sox.
Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson grounded sharply up the middle, hustling into second. That initiated a chain reaction that started with Giolito being pulled (99 pitches), manager Rick Renteria summoning three relievers and the Rays tying the game on a suicide squeeze.
But the rally died and the Sox retook the lead for good in the 10th, emerging with a 3-2 victory.
Yoan Moncada, hitting just .167 from the right side, lined Jose Alvarado’s knee-high fastball over the left fielder’s head to score pinch-runner Adam Engel. Engel replaced Nicky Delmonico, who hustled into second on a line drive to right.
“I went to swing in that at-bat,” Moncada said. “That was the mindset. I had a very good pitch and I made good contact.”
It was a nice victory for the Sox, who improved to 3-3 in extra-inning games. The organization is looking for Moncada and Giolito to emerge as standouts in their rebuild.
Giolito was cruising along until Robertson’s double. He had allowed just two hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out six.
Jose Abreu made two dynamite plays at first, making a rolling stop of a Ji-Man Choi in the fifth and a diving stab of a Michael Perez grounder in the sixth.
The Sox employed a shift for nearly every left-handed Rays hitter. That paid off, too.
But Renteria just couldn’t wait to use the Sox bullpen, which entered with a 4.70 ERA — ranking 25th in the AL.
Jace Fry gave up what looked like a routine grounder, but this time the shift backfired. Third baseman Yolmer Sanchez was playing closer to shortstop and could not make the diving play.
The run was charged to Giolito, but at least he was able to get his ERA below 6.00 — its lowest since April 12 — to 5.97.
Renteria said he pulled Giolito at 99 pitches because he felt the right-hander was tiring.
“He gave us a great outing. Why put him in a situation where he gets into more trouble,” Renteria said. “You might say: That’s his game to win. But he did a great job for us as a team.”
And at least he lasted longer than the Rays’ starter. Not that it was his fault.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek faced five Sox batters — and struck out each one. But he’s a reliever. The Rays have few bona fide starting pitchers, so they’re trying something new — relievers as starters.
Abreu hit his 18th homer for the Sox, a two-run blast on a 1-1 breaking ball from Jaime Schultz in the sixth. That’s all the Sox got until the 10th. But that third run came just in time.
Tyler Danish, pitching 45 minutes from where he grew up, helped kill a Rays rally in the ninth by striking out Jesus Sucre. He earned the victory.
“What more could I ask for?” Danish said. “It’s an amazing feeling. And my phone is kind of blowing up right now.”