Lucas Giolito pitches six strong innings but Angels hand White Sox fifth loss in six games

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Lucas Giolito looked more like himself against the Los Angeles Angels Monday night, throwing six innings of two-run ball and striking out six in a 4-3 loss, the Sox’ fifth in their last six games.

If only Giolito had received an assist from his defense in the second inning, it could have been six scoreless and exiting with a 3-0 lead rather than 3-2, which quickly evaporated on Taylor Ward’s two-run double against Reynaldo Lopez in the seventh.

The loss dropped the Sox to 34-38.

Finding his way after posting a 1-3 record and 9.47 ERA over his previous five starts, Giolito faced Brandon Marsh with two out in the second and a runner on second, Marsh looped a fly ball near the 350-foot sign near the right field corner and right fielder Gavin Sheets let the ball pop out of his glove for an RBI triple.

Andrew Velasquez then singled off Giolito’s cleat, making it 2-0. Giolito went on to finish with six strikeouts and one walk.

Sheets had two hits including a double in the seventh, when he scored on Josh Harrison’s go-ahead single. But on that hit, Seby Zavala was caught too far off second and thrown out.

Anderson on the move

Tim Anderson, who collected the 100th and 101st stolen bases of his career, scored from first on Andrew Vaughn’s double in the sixth. Vaughn scored on Jose Abreu’s game-tying double.

Anderson is the Sox’ top vote-getter in American League All-Star Game balloting, running second to the Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette. Through Sunday, Anderson was batting .339/.376/.468 with an .843 OPS in 45 games. Bichette was hitting .252/.297/.422 with a .719 OPS in 71 games.

Star gazing

When Vaughn’s batting average was touching .330 last week, the first sounds of All-Star Game chatter came within earshot of the second-year White Sox outfielder. To even be in the conversation almost took Vaughn’s breath away.

“Those are amazing words,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s pretty cool to be in that company. It would be an extreme honor but the No. 1 goal and everyone in here is the same — get to the playoffs.”

Vaughn made his major league debut in Anaheim last April 2. The Angels clubhouse has signed baseballs on the wall of players who debuted here since 2020.

Grandal’s back

Aside from the long flight to Anaheim doing it no favors, catcher Yasmani Grandal said his low back “is feeling good” but he has no timetable yet for an injury rehab assignment. Grandal, who hasn’t played since June 11, has been taking swings of the tee in the last few days.

“The most important thing is the running,” Grandal said. “If I can do the running I should be able to do everything else.”

“It’s step by step,” manager Tony La Russa said. “You have to be patient. There’s too much at stake. There are more things he has to pass.”

Hendriks throws bullpen

Closer Liam Hendriks, on the injured list since June 14 with a right forearm flexor strain, threw a bullpen Monday. Hendriks has targeted this weekend for a return, which is more ambitious than general manager Rick Hahn’s original expectation of a three-week absence.

“Ask him or ask the trainers. There is a different opinion,” La Russa said when asked how Hendriks came away from throwing off a mound. He wants to go.”

How Hendriks responds Tuesday could present a clearer picture of how soon he’ll be available. The Sox won’t want to rush him.

Yoan Moncada is expected to come off the IL Tuesday.

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