The White Sox had a chance to start the postseason at home, but by virtue of stumbling down the stretch, they had to head west to a house of horrors for the Sox in years past, the Oakland Coliseum.
But this is a new Sox team, unafraid of going into the Coliseum, and they won the way they won so many games this season: a great effort from Lucas Giolito and homers.
Lucas Giolito was more than good through the first six innings. He was perfect. A leadoff single in the 7th by former Cub Tommy La Stella spoiled both the perfecto and no-hit bid for Giolito.
Had he completed the historic feat, would have placed him alongside the late Roy Halladay as the only pitchers with no-hitters in the regular season and playoffs in the same season, and it would have been the third no-no in postseason history, alongside Halladay’s feat, and Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
Giolito went 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and 1 walk with 8 punchouts. He looked very comfortable throughout, and everything was working well for him as he kept the A’s hitters off balanced all day.
Jose Abreu keeps proving why he should be the AL MVP. He went 2-for-4 with a big two-run homer in the third inning that put the Sox up 3-0 in the first postseason game of his career. Clutch moments have never been a problem for Abreu, so it was nice to see him produce in a big way in the playoffs.
Tim Anderson continues to be a force at the top of the order. His first postseason game resulted in a 3-for-4 effort and he scored a run on Abreu’s 3rd inning home run. When he gets multiple hits like he did Tuesday, that usually bodes well for the Sox as a whole.
Adam Engel made a bit of postseason history with his solo dong in the 2nd inning. He became the first White Sox player in franchise history to hit a home run in his first career postseason at-bat. He added another hit to go 2-for-4, making Ricky Renteria’s decision to put him in right field over Nomar Mazara a good one.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY:
Uh, I got nothing. This game went beautifully from a White Sox perspective.
The Sox will look to advance to the Division Series on Wednesday with another 2 p.m. Chicago time first pitch, back on ESPN. Dallas Keuchel will get the nod for the Sox against A’s RHP Chris Bassit, who was originally drafted by the Sox in the 16th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and made his big league debut with the Sox in 2014.