A key piece of the Chicago White Sox’ rebuilding project, Charlotte Knights right-hander Lucas Giolito struggled to find his groove through his first six starts of the season, posting a 7.31 ERA.
Starts seven and eight showed signs of improvement. But in his ninth, Giolito, who was once considered by some to be baseball’s top pitching prospect, delivered the best performance of his professional career.
In Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Syracuse Chiefs – the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals who traded Giolito, 22, to Chicago last offseason – Giolito tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in a 4-0 win.
The no-hitter was the fourth in Knights franchise history and the first by an individual at BB&T Ballpark – four Toledo Mud Hens pitchers combined for a no-hitter on April 23, 2016.
With Thursday’s no-hitter, in which he threw 87 pitches (50 for strikes) and allowed three walks, Giolito lowered his ERA to 2.50 over his past three starts.
Tuesday: Home runs have plagued Carson Fulmer all season, and that was the case once again during a 6-2 loss to Chiefs. Fulmer surrendered six runs (four earned) on a career-high four homers.
Thursday: After Wednesday’s game was rained out, Charlotte backed Giolito’s perfect game with home runs from Adam Engel, Danny Hayes and Nicky Delmonico – who hit his fourth in three games. In Game 2 of the doubleheader, Jacob May went 2-for-3 with a home run, but the Knights suffered an 8-4 loss after Will Lamb allowed five runs in three innings.
Friday: After registering a 1.57 ERA over his past five starts, Reynaldo Lopez allowed eight runs on eight hits over four innings. In the 9-3 defeat against the Buffalo Bisons, he was saddled with his first loss since April 11.
Saturday: Zack Burdi entered Saturday with a 0.90 ERA across 10 innings in May. With Charlotte leading 6-5 through eight innings, he entered the ninth with a chance to record his sixth save of the season, but surrendered five runs and didn’t record an out. Buffalo tacked on two more runs to earn a 12-7 win.
What’s next: The Knights conclude their seven-game homestand with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Bisons on Sunday and a 2:05 p.m. contest on Monday. Charlotte then embarks on a six-game road trip to Syracuse and Buffalo.
Pat James: @patjames24