The Chicago White Sox returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since Game 2 of the 2021 American League Division Series.
Lucas Giolito started that game for the Sox. And he was on the mound Friday.
It wasn’t the Sox’s day then. And it certainly wasn’t Friday night.
It all fell apart for the Sox in the sixth, when the team surrendered 10 runs in a 13-3 loss in front of 35,467.
“Once it got away, it got away,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
The Astros hit three homers in the inning, including a grand slam by Michael Brantley against reliever Matt Foster. Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run homer off Foster, and Kyle Tucker hit a solo home run against Tanner Banks.
The Astros sent 14 to the plate on the way to taking control of the game.
“I walked the leadoff batter and I fell behind pretty much everyone I faced,” Giolito said of the sixth. “Didn’t execute pitches at all. That’s really it.
“At the end of the day I just need to be better. This is pretty God-awful. That’s pretty much it. Third time through the lineup, need to execute my pitches.”
Giolito allowed eight runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks in five-plus innings. He exited after facing five batters without recording an out in the sixth.
“I have to be able to utilize my pitches,” Giolito said. “But I put myself in a really bad spot, walking the leadoff batter, losing the changeup, not throwing my best offspeed pitch for a strike puts me in a hole. Credit to them — they didn’t miss when I did miss.”
The Sox played a majority of the game without third baseman Yoán Moncada, who left in the third inning with right hamstring tightness. He is being evaluated, the team said.
Moncada talked with the training staff in the dugout after grounding out to shortstop Aledmys Díaz in the second inning. Moncada remained in the game for the bottom of the second. Josh Harrison replaced him in the third.
“At first we thought it might be a little cramping,” La Russa said. “They did the exercise down under and he had good strength. There’s something barking, so my guess is probably hamstring.”
Moncada is slashing .179/.230/.292 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 29 games. He began the season on the injured list with a right oblique strain and played his first game May 9. He experienced quad discomfort, limiting his playing time in late May.
Moncada had a career-high five hits Wednesday in a 13-0 victory against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. He went 5-for-6 with five RBIs, hitting a three-run home run in the first, a single in the fourth, a double in the sixth and RBI singles in the eighth and ninth.
“Excited to get him back in there,” La Russa said. “It gives our lineup a different, dangerous look.”
AJ Pollock provided the offensive spark for the Sox on Friday, hitting a three-run homer in the the third to tie the game at 3.
It remained that way until the sixth unraveled for the Sox. Alex Bregman walked and went to third on Alvarez’s single to right. Andrew Vaughn’s throw to the bag got away and Bregman scored, breaking the tie.
Tucker followed with an RBI double.
Giolito exited after allowing a single to Díaz, which loaded the bases with no outs.
“We worked on some mechanical adjustments leading up to this that I thought were pretty effective,” Giolito said. “I felt like my fastball was a lot better but still not commanding the ball, losing my changeup. Middle innings, generally working ahead, using my offspeed stuff, slider, changeup to be able to get back into the count, not be predictable.
“(Catcher) Seby (Zavala) did a really good job calling the game. … It’s on me to execute. I did a lot better job in the middle innings. First couple of innings, home runs on not good pitches, missed pitches. And then the sixth inning was a whole lot of bad execution.”
Foster entered and surrendered an RBI single to Chas McCormick but struck out the next two.
Brantley hit the first pitch he saw over the right-field wall, making it 10-3. Foster exited after Alvarez’s two-run homer. Tucker greeted Banks with a solo homer.
It was a rough start to the series for the Sox, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit.
“We played great in the Detroit series, a ton of momentum,” Giolito said. “Everything was clicking well. It’s not good to go out there and do what I did, considering. That’s really it. There’s obviously improvements to be made.
“But I have confidence in myself, so I need to keep grinding. I felt like with the mechanical stuff, (Friday) was a step in the right direction. When it comes to actually pitching and executing, I need to be better.”