Lucas Giolito took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in his first start of the season, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep in the season-opening series.
Giolito (1-0) walked Whit Merrifield on four pitches to begin the game, but then retired 19 straight before Alex Gordon’s single with one out in the seventh. Gordon fouled off four consecutive pitches before lining a curveball into center field.
Yonder Alonso preserved the no-hitter with a diving stop in the sixth, and he and Jose Abreu homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth off starter Jorge Lopez (0-1).
Alex Colome pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Giolito couldn’t finish the seventh. Ryan O’Hearn drove in Gordon with a double into the right field corner, and Lucas Duda chased Giolito with an RBI single. Giolito was charged with two runs in 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches.
Giolito was 10-13 with a 6.13 ERA in 2018 and led the AL in walks (90) and the majors in earned runs allowed (118). In seven starts against the Royals in his career, Giolito is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA. In 14 starts against the other AL Central teams, Giolito has a 5.62 ERA.
Ryan Burr got the final out of the seventh to end the threat.
Alonso had two hits and three RBIs. Four other White Sox had two hits in the game, including Abreu.
Alonso also robbed Billy Hamilton of a hit by diving down the first base line to snag a line drive in the sixth.
Lopez and reliever Tim Hill combined to walk three straight during the sixth inning, resulting in two runs. Lopez allowed four runs in five-plus innings.
Royals right-handers Kyle Zimmer and Chris Ellis made their major league debuts. Zimmer threw a scoreless eighth inning, surrendering a single and striking out two. The fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Zimmer spent six seasons in the minor leagues and spent last year way from the organization while working on his mechanics at the Driveline baseball facility in Seattle.
Ellis matched Zimmer with a scoreless ninth, giving up two singles and a walk in the inning after retiring the first two batters he faced.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After leading baseball in challenges won in 2018, going 33 for 42 (78.6, the Royals are a perfect 3 for 3 after three games. On Sunday, the Royals had a close play at first base overturned in their favor. Chris Owings made a diving stop on a sharply hit ground ball to third base, hopped up and fired to Duda, who picked the ball off a bounce for the final out of the ninth. After Eloy Jimenez was initially called safe, replay confirmed the throw beat him by a couple inches.
White Sox: OF Jon Jay (right hip strain) will have his hip reevaluated when the team gets back to Chicago later this week, and RHP Ian Hamilton is throwing as he continues to work his way back from right shoulder inflammation. Manager Rick Renteria said both players, who have been on the 10-day injured list since March 25, are improving each day.
White Sox: Ivan Nova makes his first start Monday as a member of the White Sox as Chicago travels to Cleveland for a two-game series.
Royals: Brad Keller will make his second start of the season Tuesday against the Twins. Keller has pitched 41 consecutive innings without allowing a home run, dating to Aug. 31. It’s the longest active streak in the AL and the second-longest streak in the majors.