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Game #119: Olson Thwarts Strong Start from Giolito

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

After a short delay to start the game for a ceremony honoring Harold Baines, today’s game was an intense pitcher’s duel between the A’s Chris Bassitt and the White Sox’ Lucas Giolito. In six innings, Giolito struck out thirteen Athletics, and only six hitters reached base. His fastball had strong movement and his offspeed stuff was biting. However, he wasn’t perfect, and thanks to the efforts of Bassitt and Matt Olson, the A’s emerged from this hard-fought game victorious.

Game Thread #1 - Game Thread #2

The game was a nailbiter from the start. Against Bassitt, the White Sox got a base runner to third base in each of the first two innings, but Bassitt used his fastball to escape both jams. On the day, his fastball was his best pitch, and he used the offering often. Generally, Bassitt was comfortably sitting at 96 MPH and touched 97 at times with it. From the third inning on, he cruised, allowing just two harmless singles and allowing no runs. The final nine hitters he faced were all retired. All told, Bassitt pitched seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

The A’s needed a stellar start from Bassitt, because Giolito was nearly unhittable. He and Bassitt traded zeroes back and forth until pitch counts got the better of them. As mentioned above, Giolito struck out thirteen A’s, and the team had sixteen K’s on the day as a whole. There was one notable exception to the White Sox’ dominance on the mound, however, Matt Olson.

What little the A’s could muster on offense came in the fourth inning. Leading off the frame, Matt Chapman hit a ball that was up and over the wall, but Jon Jay got his glove on the ball and caught it temporarily. However, he collided with the wall and the ball was jarred loose, landing safely in center field. Chapman reached second base on the play. The next batter, Olson, took the second pitch he saw, a high and tight fastball, way out of the park for a two run home run.

Chad Pinder would also double hard to right field later in the inning, but the A’s couldn’t cash him in.

The fourth inning had the further bonus of driving up Giolito’s pitch count, and probably cost him an inning on the back end of the game. But the A’s offense didn’t do any better against Chicago’s relief staff, so ultimately that impact was minimal.

The White Sox used Jimmy Cordero, Jace Fry, and Kelvin Herrera to get through the final three frames scoreless. The A’s used Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, and Liam Hendriks to get through the final two innings scoreless. All told, after a little under three hours, the A’s won 2-0.

The A’s win the series against the White Sox and go an even 3-3 on their Chicago road trip. The team will have an off day on Monday before facing the Giants in San Francisco for two games in the first half of the Bay Bridge Series.