OAKLAND – Even with a difficult finish to the regular season, one where the White Sox fell from first to seventh in the American League standings, Rick Renteria was confident his young group would respond in the playoffs.
The manager described the group as being “loose” before their first playoff game in Oakland on Monday. It was a major moment for the franchise, since the White Sox were playing in their first playoff game since 2008 against the Athletics.
It looks like the manager had a good read on his team, because their playoff debut was outstanding.
Led by strong pitching from Lucas Giolito and a homer-happy offense, the White Sox beat Oakland 4-1 in Game 1 of the Wild Card series at RingCentral Coliseum Tuesday afternoon. It gives the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, which sets them up for a closeout game on Wednesday afternoon.
Giolito was the star of the effort, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning and working into the eighth. He’d finish allowing just two hits and a run with eight strikeouts compared to just one hit.
Meanwhile, the White Sox offense found their power, with Adam Engel hitting a solo homer in the second to get the team going. Jose Abreu, an MVP candidate for the 2020 season, slammed a two-run homer in the third to add on to the lead.
Yasmani Grandal added an insurance homer in the eighth inning and continued an impressive streak for the team against left-handed starters. Per ESPN, the team is now 15-0 when facing southpaw starters, with the White Sox getting three of their four runs off Jesus Luzardo.
The bullpen would make their effort along with Giolito’s hold up. Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, and Alex Colome shutdown the Athletics to finish an impressive first playoff effort in 12 years.