MINNEAPOLIS -- The best power-hitting team in baseball was no match for Lucas Giolito.
The White Sox right-hander handcuffed the majors’ home run leaders, limiting the Minnesota Twins to three hits in his second nine-inning complete game of the season as Chicago won the rubber match of a three-game series 4-0 on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 21, at Target Field.
It was the Twins’ first shutout loss since a 2-0 setback to the Boston Red Sox on June 17.
“I would say, certainly, that’s about as good of an effort as we faced all year long,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve faced some really good starting pitchers. He’s a good one, but he was on his game today, too.”
The Twins’ lead in the American League Central was trimmed to 2.5 games over Cleveland pending the Indians’ game against the Mets later that day in New York. Minnesota is off Thursday before starting a three-game set against Detroit at Target Field.
Hitting a robust .271 and leading the major leagues with 244 home runs, the Twins managed only four base-runners against Giolito (14-6) — two singles, a double and a fielder’s choice. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound right-hander struck out 12 and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until Jonathan Scoop’s one-out double in the eighth inning.
The last time Giolito faced Minnesota, the Twins jumped on him for seven hits, including four homers, and seven earned runs in a 10-3 victory at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I knew the last one against that team I just came out flat,” he said. “I was falling behind, I wasn’t executing my pitches. I know that when I get ahead — throw two, three pitches for strikes and show I can do that from the get-go — it’s probably going to be a good day. We did that from the start, just attack mode from the get-go, lot of fastballs inside, and I felt like I got better and better as the game went on.”
It was Giolito’s third straight game with at least 11 strikeouts, the most for a White Sox pitcher since left-hander Chris Sale did it eight straight times in 2015. He threw 115 pitches, only 11 more than his counterpart, Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, threw in five innings.
Odorizzi (13-6) allowed two first-inning runs on four hits and a fielder’s choice. The veteran right-hander, an all-star for the first time this season, scrapped for four more innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits — six singles and two doubles.
“You throw extra pitches when you give up hits regardless, but stuff-wise wasn’t a problem,” Odorizzi said. “And execution wasn’t much of a problem, either. It’s baseball; they hit the ball and sometimes they’re hits, sometimes they’re not. I can do the same thing next time I see these guys and it can be tremendously better.
“There’s nothing to overthink in a one-start span like that. From my standpoint, from lots of standpoints, there was a lot of good today. It just ended up being not enough.”
Ryne Harper, Sam Dyson, Tyler Duffey and Trevor May each threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Twins.