Following the weekend sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers and a rare scheduled off day, the Pirates took a trip to the South Side of Chicago to begin a quick two games series with the White Sox. On the mound for the 7-17 Pittsburgh Pirates was the lefty Steven Brault, who on the season had posted a 3.00 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 innings and 5 starts; only one of them being a non “piggyback” situation. Unfortunately for Brault he was stacked up against a White Sox lineup that has absolutely destroyed left handed pitchers so far this year. As a team they have a combined .305 AVG, .994 OPS and 19 home runs against them, while earning a 7-0 record when facing lefty starters. Opposing Brault for the White Sox was 2019 All-Star Lucas Giolito. In the 6 starts prior to tonight Giolito had struck out 45 in 34.2 innings pitched, with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP; including his 13 K, 0 ER and 3 Hit 7 inning masterpiece against the Tigers five days ago.
In the first couple of innings it’s wasn’t the bats that got to Steven Brault, it was his own control as he walked three batters and hit another. The White Sox did sprinkle in a few singles resulting in a 3-0 lead at the end of two innings. After a leadoff double and a walk, Brault was saved by an outfield assist from Jarrod Dyson who nabbed Edwin Encarnacion trying to score. But Brault’s troubles were far from over as a wild pitch and sacrifice fly allowed Chicago to extend its lead to 4-0. This ended up being all she wrote for Brault as his final line was less than optimal at 4 earned runs on 5 hits and four free passes with no strikes in 72 pitches.
While Brault was struggling to get anything going, Giolito was cruising through the Pirates lineup. In the first three innings Giolito had thrown only 33 pitches and struck out 5 Pirates batters. Then things gotten extremely interesting as Giolito continued to work each inning with ease and without a blemish in the hit column. After 7 innings he was up to 10 strikeouts, with only one walk that came back in the 4th.
For the Pirates, Nick Tropeano had come in to relieve Brault and put a stop to the White Sox scoring as he struck out 4, walked none and only allowed 3 hits during 4 innings. But unfortunately for him this would be lost in the excitement of Giolito chasing the first no-hitter of his young career.
As the Pirates entered the bottom of the 9th they were set to send out Jarrod Dyson, John Ryan Murphy and Erik Gonzalez to attempt to break up Giolito’s no-hit bid. Dyson struck out swinging to lead off the inning. Jose Osuna was then called into pinch hit for Murphy and flew out to right field Adam Engel in foul territory. It was all up to Erik Gonzalez who promptly line out to Engel to record the final out of the game and secure the first no-hitter in 2020 in Major League Baseball for Lucas Giolito. All totaled he struck out 13 Pirates batters and allowed only one base runner on 101 pitches.
The Pirates and White Sox have a quick turnaround as they face each other tomorrow at 2:10 PM as Trevor Williams steps on the mound for Pittsburgh against Dallas Keuchel for Chicago.