Chicago White Sox

Rios' 3 hits, 3 RBIs help White Sox sweep Mariners

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Rios' 3 hits, 3 RBIs help White Sox sweep Mariners

SEATTLE -- Alex Rios has been putting in an effort to really concentrate on his approach at the plate and improve the quality of his at-bats.That work paid off Sunday when Rios got three hits and drove in three runs to help the Chicago White Sox completed a series sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 7-4 victory.Rios hit a tying, two-run triple in the sixth and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome to put the White Sox ahead for good.Rios and Fukudome added RBI singles in the eighth against Tom Wilhelmsen."I'm just focusing on my approach right now," Rios said. "I want to swing at good pitches, have a good approach and besides that nothing else."Manager Robin Ventura has noticed over the attention to Rios' approach paying off the last few games."It's something he's kind of been working on and he just looks very comfortable at the plate and confident," Ventura said.The win polished off a rejuvenating series sweep of the Mariners after coming to Seattle as losers of four of their last five games. The White Sox have won 19 of their last 22 games against the Mariners including their second straight sweep in Seattle."We played pretty good these three games," Rios said. "It's a confidence boost to us. We've been playing good. We just need to keep doing what we're doing."A day after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game for the White Sox, John Danks (2-2) went six innings for the win. Hector Santiago pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season.Seattle starter Kevin Millwood (0-1) took a 4-2 lead into the sixth. Adam Dunn drew a leadoff walk, Paul Konerko singled and after a groundout, Rios cleared the bases with a triple to the wall in right-center field.

"When you give it up like that you have to come right back and answer," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We didn't do that."The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the third on a double by Alexei Ramirez that left fielder Casper Wells misplayed for an error, and an RBI single by Dunn.Seattle tied it in the bottom half. Chone Figgins led off with a walk and Ichiro Suzuki singled, setting up an RBI single by Jesus Montero and an RBI double by Alex Liddi.Fukudome walked in the fourth and moved up on a wild pitch, but was thrown out at the plate by Suzuki on Brent Morel's single to right field.Miguel Olivo and Wells hit consecutive singles to lead off the fourth. With Brendan Ryan attempting to bunt, the infield was pulled up when Danks tried a pickoff throw at first that Dunn never saw coming. Danks' error allowed Olivo to score and Dustin Ackley drove in a run with a grounder for a 4-2 lead."We had a pick play on and I think we left (Dunn) out. I don't know," Danks said. "... It's embarrassing but it happens."Danks managed to settle in after the fourth inning as Seattle only managed to draw two walks off Danks in the fifth and sixth innings."He grinds. That's the kind of pitcher he is," Ventura said of Danks. "...That's just the way he pitches and he has a lot of guts when he goes out there."NOTES
Seattle 1B Justin Smoak got a scheduled day off and Liddi started in his place. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura gave CF Alejandro De Aza the day off with Fukudome starting in his place. De Aza had played every inning of the first 14 games of the year in center for Chicago. De Aza pinch-ran for DH Konerko in the eighth. ... White Sox reliever Addison Reed pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out the side.Box scoreCopyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Nothing is proven, Lucas Giolito will have to come back next season and show he can do this once again. But another huge development in the White Sox rebuild has been the continued development and success of Giolito late in the season.

The young White Sox pitcher added another outstanding performance to the ledger on Sunday afternoon.

Giolito pitched seven sharp innings and helped the White Sox officially avoid 100 losses in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed a run and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It’s another step in a nice turnaround for Giolito, who struggled at Triple-A earlier in the year.

“I feel like this is where I can pitch,” Giolito said. “I can pitch deep into games. I wouldn't really say awestruck or anything like that. I’d say that there’s a lot of struggles there earlier this year. I worked through those … I feel like getting the confidence back up, it’s all I really needed to feel comfortable and be ready to go.”

Some of the metrics would suggest Giolito is in line for a dropoff. While his earned-run average is 2.38, his Fielding Independent Pitching is 4.94. His xFIP is a little lower at 4.42. But the elevated numbers are in part due to Giolito not missing as many bats and striking out 6.75 batters per nine innings.

But Giolito’s big-league numbers also come at a time in which he has never pitched more. He has pitched a combined 174 innings this season, which dwarfs his previous high of 136 2/3 innings in 2016.

Despite the workload, the right-hander continues to bring good stuff. He got seven swings and misses and 10 called strikes with his four-seam fastball, which averaged 92.3 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“He's got angle, he's got height,” manager Rick Renteria said “He's got good angle so that creates, believe or not, some deception and he can ride it up out of the zone. And then he comes out from that angle with the breaking ball or his changeup. So the angle creates some pretty good deception.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign]

Giolito has filled up the strikezone since he reached the majors partly because of belief in his stuff. He’s thrown strikes on 63.4 percent of his pitches and was even better Sunday with 65 of 98 offerings. The other part of it is trust in his defense, which made several spectacular plays behind him.

Giolito knows this is only the beginning. But he feels good after a stretch in which he has quality starts in five of six games. Over the stretch he has a 1.83 ERA and 25 hits allowed with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

“My confidence is there,” Giolito said. “I trust my stuff, I trust my pitches. There are things to work on, things I’m talking to (Don Cooper) about. There’s always stuff to improve, for sure. I’d say that just the confidence and everything is right where it needs to be so I’m going to continue to try and pitch like I am.”

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

When searching for why Avisail Garcia has had sustained success this season, you can’t overlook his fitter frame.

The White Sox outfielder entered a breakout 2017 season approximately 18 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Garcia, who’s hitting .331, doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 8-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon. Given the way he has performed this season, the first-time All-Star said he plans to work even harder this offseason.

“One hundred percent (better),” Garcia said. “I want to keep losing a little bit more. I want to feel way better next year.”

Garcia has provided the White Sox with a boatload of feel-good moments this season. He cut down two base runners in Friday night’s wild victory over the Royals, including on the final play of the game. Overall, Garcia has felt a difference in the field and it’s shown up in his defensive numbers. He headed into Sunday worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved after he finished the 2015 season at minus-11.

But even more of Garcia’s production has come at the plate, where he reached the 80-RBI mark on Sunday. He followed a one-out Yoan Moncada double off Ian Kennedy in the first inning with an opposite-field blast to right field, Garcia’s 18th homer.

Six innings later, Garcia doubled in a run. He’s hitting .331/.379/.504 on the season and entered Sunday worth 3.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

“It seems likes he’s always finding barrel and like, man, that’s impressive to go up there, have disciplined at-bats and consistently get the barrel of the bat to the ball,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said.

Garcia’s play has offered him more encouragement to continue his efforts. Though he was adamant at the All-Star Game he wanted to duplicate his first-half efforts, Garcia suffered a series of injuries that bothered him throughout July. But he’s found comfort at the plate once again and knows how important a role his improved conditioning has played.

“The offseason, I have to do the same even harder,” Garcia said. “I want to do my best every year so now I have the ability to be here and trying to help my team. Just have to keep working.”