OAKLAND, Calif.: Lucas Giolito dazzled in his postseason debut, stymieing the Oakland Athletics through six perfect innings and sending the Chicago White Sox to a 4-1 victory in the opener of their best-of-three wild-card series Tuesday.
Giolito (1-0), who pitched a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25, didnt allow a baserunner to the AL West champions until Tommy La Stellas single up the middle to start the seventh. Giolito gave up one run on two hits over seven innings, struck out eight and walked one before giving way to Evan Marshall after a stellar 100-pitch outing.
Giolito got plenty of support: Jos Abreu hit a two-run homer and Adam Engel also connected for Chicago against Jesus Luzardo (0-1). Yasmani Grandal homered in the eighth.
Alex Colome, Chicagos third reliever, worked the ninth for a save in the 2-hour, 53-minute game.
Now, Oakland must win Game 2 on Wednesday at home to avoid another early playoff exit. The As are in the postseason for a third straight year, having lost in the AL wild-card game each of the past two seasons after 97 wins both times.
ASTROS 4, TWINS 1
MINNEAPOLIS: Jose Altuve drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning after a two-out error by shortstop Jorge Polanco, and Houston beat Minnesota to open their AL playoff series and stretch the Twins all-time record postseason losing streak to 17 games.
Manager Dusty Bakers Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. Game 2 in the best-of-three wild-card matchup is Wednesday at Target Field.
Michael Brantley tacked on a two-run single in the ninth after Sergio Romo issued a full-count walk to the 5-foot-6 Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP who had a quiet season at the plate.
Framber Valdez, who made 10 regular-season starts for the Astros, pitched five scoreless innings in relief of Zack Greinke for the victory to keep the bullpen fresh for the rest of the series. Valdez allowed his only two hits with one out in the ninth, but Willians Astudillo grounded into a double play to end the game.
Minnesotas previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.
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