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Tuesday's MLB playoffs: Giolito dazzles, Abreu slugs White Sox past A's in opener

Associated Press

Oakland, Calif. — Lucas Giolito released a brief yell of delight and marched quickly back to the dugout, his work day going just brilliantly for the Chicago White Sox.

Giolito simply dazzled in his postseason debut, stymieing the Oakland Athletics through six perfect innings and sending the White Sox to a 4-1 victory in the opener of their best-of-three wild-card series Tuesday.

“Unreal. Unreal to watch. Unreal to be behind him,” shortstop Tim Anderson said. “He put the work in. When you set yourself apart to put the work in and want to be a superstar, you want to be that dominant. The work is showing. Happy for him and hopefully he can keep it up and continue to grow as a player and as a person. He’s our guy. I expect nothing but that from him.”

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito throws against the Athletics during the first inning.

It also brought back memories of Giolito’s no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25.

“It was a different feel though because throwing a perfect game, no-hitter is a great personal accomplishment, but we’re in the playoffs, the goal is to win the game,” Giolito said. “For me it was all about I’m going to give the team the best possible chance to come out on top after nine innings.”

On Tuesday, he didn’t allow a baserunner to the AL West champions until Tommy La Stella’s single up the middle to start the seventh. Giolito gave up one run on two hits over seven innings, struck out eight and walked one before giving way to Evan Marshall after a stellar 100-pitch outing.

“Pretty cool,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It was neat to see.”

Giolito got plenty of support: José Abreu hit a two-run homer and Adam Engel also connected for Chicago. Yasmani Grandal homered in the eighth.

Alex Colome, Chicago’s third reliever, worked the ninth for a save to close out the 2-hour, 53-minute game.

Before the single by La Stella, Jake Lamb’s line drive to center in the fifth was the hardest-hit ball against Giolito by the powerful A’s, whose offense struggled down the stretch.

Now, Oakland must win Game 2 on Wednesday at home to avoid another early playoff exit.

The A’s are in the postseason for a third straight year. They lost in the AL wild card game each of the past two seasons after 97 wins both times.

Oakland advanced just once during 11 previous playoff trips since 2000, reaching the 2006 AL Championship Series before being swept by Detroit.

“We have no choice tomorrow. That’s the way we’ve been here for a while now. We wanted a series. We lost the first game of it. Now it’s time for us to respond tomorrow,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re going to have to do more offensively. We can’t score one run and think that we’re going to win tomorrow and put that much pressure on the starter.”

Ramón Laureano’s groundout in the eighth scored Oakland’s lone run.

Engel crushed an 0-2 fastball for a 1-0 lead in the second, and Abreu homered in the third against 22-year-old lefty Jesús Luzardo.

Chicago had put runners on first and third in the initial inning after Abreu’s two-out single but Luzardo struck out James McCann to get out of it.

Engel’s fourth-inning double chased Luzardo, who took the loss.

“They capitalized on those two mistakes,” Luzardo said. “I feel like my pitching was pretty good other than that.”

Chicago has thrived against lefty starters, going 14-0 during the regular season when facing a southpaw.

That prompted Anderson to say of Luzardo getting the ball in Game 1, “I guess they haven’t done their homework.” After the game, Anderson said, “We know what we do to lefties.”

Chicago was eager for a fresh start in the playoffs after losing seven of eight at the end of the regular season, two on walk-offs.

The White Sox snapped a string of seven consecutive losing seasons to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008, when they won the AL Central and lost to Tampa Bay 3-1 in the Division Series.

“This is something we’ve been waiting for for a while now,” Engel said.

More games

►Houston 4, (at) Minnesota 1: Jose Altuve drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning after a two-out error by shortstop Jorge Polanco, and the Astros beat the Twins to open their AL playoff series and stretch Minnesota's all-time record postseason losing streak to 17 games.

Manager Dusty Baker’s Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. Game 2 in the best-of-three wild-card matchup is Wednesday at Target Field.

Michael Brantley tacked on a two-run single in the ninth after Sergio Romo issued a full-count walk to the 5-foot-6 Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP who had a quiet season at the plate.

Framber Valdez, who made 10 regular-season starts for the Astros, pitched five scoreless innings in relief of Zack Greinke for the victory to keep the bullpen fresh for the rest of the series. Valdez allowed his only two hits with one out in the ninth, but Willians Astudillo grounded into a double play to end the game.

Minnesota’s previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.

►(At) Tampa Bay 3, Toronto 1: Blake Snell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and top-seeded Tampa Bay opened the playoffs with a win over Toronto.

Manuel Margot hit a two-run homer and Randy Arozarena tripled and scored on a wild pitch to give Snell and a dominant Rays bullpen all the offensive support needed to begin the best-of-three matchup.

The AL East champion Rays will try to advance Wednesday in Game 2 at Tropicana Field.

Snell allowed just two baserunners until Alejandro Kirk singled leading off the sixth. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner permitted one hit and struck out nine – tying a club postseason record – in 5⅔ innings.

Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks followed, limiting the wild-card Blue Jays to Bo Bichette’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Fairbanks closed for his first save of the season.

Toronto reliever Robbie Ray took the loss. Margot homered off A.J. Cole to make it 3-0 in the seventh.

N.Y. Yankees 12, (at) Cleveland 3: Aaron Judge smashed a tone-setting, two-run homer on Shane Bieber’s fourth pitch, Gerrit Cole struck out 13 and New York opened the AL playoffs with a resounding win over Cleveland.

Judge and the rest of New York’s hitters hadn’t faced Bieber in 2020, but they were well prepared and took some meaty cuts against the 25-year-old ace, who gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine) over 4⅔ innings – his shortest stint since June 9 last season against the Yankees.

Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton also homered for New York.

Staked to an early lead on Judge’s homer, Cole showed why the Yanks shelled out $324 million for him in the offseason. The right-hander gave up two runs – including Josh Naylor’s homer in the fourth – and six hits in seven innings.

The Indians have lost seven straight playoff games. Naylor had four hits.

Wild Card Series

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tampa Bay 1, Toronto 0

Tuesday, Sept. 29: Tampa Bay 3, Toronto 1

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Toronto (Ryu 5-2) at Tampa Bay (Glasnow 5-1), 4:07 p.m. (TBS)

x-Thursday, Oct. 1: Toronto (Walker 4-3) at Tampa Bay (Morton 2-2), 4:07 p.m. (TBS)

Chicago White Sox 1, Oakland 0

Tuesday, Sept. 29: Chicago White Sox 4, Oakland 1

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Chicago White Sox (Keuchel 6-2) at Oakland (Bassitt 5-2), 3:10 p.m. (ESPN)

x-Thursday, Oct. 1: Chicago White Sox (Dunning 2-0 or Cease 5-4) at Oakland, 3:10 p.m. (ESPN)

Houston 1, Minnesota 0

Tuesday, Sept. 29: Houston 4, Minnesota 1

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Houston at Minnesota (Berríos 5-4), 1:08 p.m. (ESPN2)

x-Thursday, Oct. 1: Houston at Minnesota (Pineda 2-0), 1:08 p.m. (ESPN2)

New York Yankees 1, Cleveland 0

Tuesday, Sept. 29: New York Yankees 12, Cleveland 3

Wednesday, Sept. 30: New York Yankees (Tanaka 3-3) at Cleveland (Carrasco 3-4), 7:08 p.m. (ESPN)

x-Thursday, Oct. 1: New York Yankees (Happ 2-2) at Cleveland (Plesac 4-2), 7:08 p.m. (ESPN)

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Milwaukee (Suter 2-0) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Buehler 1-0), 10:08 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday, Oct. 1: Milwaukee (Woodruff 3-5) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Kershaw 6-2), 10:08 p.m. (ESPN)

x-Friday, Oct. 2: Milwaukee at Los Angeles Dodgers, 6:38 p.m. (ESPN)

Atlanta vs. Cincinnati

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Cincinnati (Bauer 5-4) at Atlanta (Fried 7-0), 12:08 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday, Oct. 1: Cincinnati (Castillo 4-6) at Atlanta (Anderson 3-2), 12:08 p.m. (ESPN)

x-Friday, Oct. 2: Cincinnati (Gray 5-3) at Atlanta (Wright 2-4), 3:08 p.m. (ESPN)

Chicago Cubs vs. Miami

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Miami (Alcantara 3-2) at Chicago Cubs (Hendricks 6-5), 2:08 p.m. (ABC)

Thursday, Oct. 1: Miami (Sanchez 3-2) at Chicago Cubs (Darvish 8-3), 2:08 p.m. (ABC)

x-Friday, Oct. 2: Miami (Lopez 6-4) at Chicago Cubs (Lester 3-3), 2:08 p.m. (ABC)

San Diego vs. St. Louis

Wednesday, Sept. 30: St. Louis (Kim 3-0) at San Diego (Paddock 4-5), 5:08 p.m. (ESPN2)

Thursday, Oct. 1: St. Louis (Wainwright 5-3) at San Diego, 5:08 p.m. (ESPN2)

x-Friday, Oct. 2: St. Louis (Flaherty 4-3) at San Diego, 10:08 p.m. (ESPN)