So much for the Pirates’ rejuvenated hitting attack.
After coming to life during a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers last weekend, the Bucs’ bats went limp Tuesday night against Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito.
All the 26-year-old right-hander did was no-hit the Pirates in a 4-0 win at an empty Guaranteed Rate Field.
Giolito entered the game with a 2-2 record and 3.89 ERA, but he looked like Cy Young Tuesday.
Giolito was in control the entire way, getting stronger as the night wore on. He struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth.
In the ninth, Giolito went 2-0 on the leadoff batter, Jarrod Dyson, then came back to get two strikes before Dyson became his 13th strikeout victim of the night.
Jose Osuna, pinch hitting for John Ryan Murphy, fell into an 0-2 hole and ultimately was retired on a foul pop to right field.
That left it to Erik Gonzalez, who was the Pirates lone baserunner, having walked in the top of fourth on four straight pitches. It was the first time Gonzalez walked all season in 68 plate appearances.
In the ninth, though, Gonzalez went down 0-2 before lining out to Adam Engel in right. It came on Giolito’s 101st pitch of the night. The Pirates swung and missed at 30 of those offerings. Of his 101 pitches, 74 were strikes.
Giolitio’s two-hour, 23-minute gem was the 304th no-hitter in major league history and the first of the 2020 season.
Aside from Gonzalez’s walk, the only other scare in the first seven innings came with one out in the seventh when shortstop Tim Anderson made a fine play to retire Reynolds on a ground ball up the middle.
Giolito, in his fourth season with the White Sox, was drafted 16th overall by the Washington Nationals in 2012 out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles. A high school teammate of Braves’ standout Max Fried, Giolito was a highly regarded prep pitcher who figured to go even higher in the draft, but an arm injury early in his senior year left him unable to throw.
At one time, while in the Nationals’ system, Giolito was said to be coveted by the Pirates when they were dangling Andrew McCutcheon as possible trade bait. Instead, the White Sox acquired him from the Nats in December 2016 as part of a deal that sent Adam Eaton to Washington.
The White Sox wasted little time in getting after Pirates starter Steven Brault, plating three runs in the second inning.
Highly touted rookie outfielder Luis Robert opened the inning with a single and moved to second after James McCann was hit by a pitch. The Pirates challenged the HBP ruling, but the original ruling held.
Brault then walked Danny Mendick to load the bases. Engel followed by grounding to first baseman Josh Bell, and all three runners advanced, giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
Anderson singled to left, scoring McCann and moving Mendick to third, and Eloy Jimenez’s base hit made it 3-0.
Brault escaped further damage by inducing Jose Abreu to ground into a double play.
The Sox added a single run in the fourth on McCann’s sacrifice fly.
Giolito, meanwhile, was dealing, as he retired the first nine batters in succession, striking out five of the nine. He needed just 66 pitches – 47 of them strikes — to get through the first six innings, during which time he racked up nine strikeouts.
The lone bright spot for the Pirates was the relief work of Nick Tropeano, who hurled four scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out four and walking none in his first appearance for Pittsburgh.