Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks missed most of September with a strained left oblique, but returned on Tuesday as the club activated him from the 10-day disabled list. He made his presence felt immediately, taking a grand slam away from Rays catcher Wilson Ramos in the top of the first inning.
Starter Jordan Montgomery found himself in hot water to start the game, as he gave up back-to-back singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza, Jr., then walked Evan Longoria to load the bases with no outs. After striking out Logan Morrison, Montgomery threw an 85 MPH first-pitch change-up that Ramos crushed to right-center field. Fortunately for Montgomery, Hicks tracked the ball, leaped, and brought the ball back from beyond the fence to save an additional three runs. Kiermaier scored on what was ultimately a sacrifice fly.
The Twins have arguably baseball’s scariest offense. Their average of 5.87 runs per game is second only to the Yankees (5.90) while leading the league in slugging percentage (.501), OPS (.840), and home runs (244). White Sox starter Lucas Giolito made their offense look impotent on Wednesday, blanking them over nine innings for his second shutout of the season. The White Sox won 4-0.
Giolito allowed just three hits and walked none while fanning 12 batters over his nine innings of work. He’s now 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and a 194/51 K/BB ratio in 151 2/3 innings on the season. Giolito is very much in the AL Cy Young Award picture. The Astros’ Justin Verlander leads the league in ERA at 2.81. A strong finish to the season for Giolito could certainly see his ERA dip below 3.00.
As mentioned, Wednesday’s shutout was Giolito’s second of the season. He and the Indians’ Shane Bieber are the only pitchers with multiple shutouts this season. They are two of only 21 pitchers with a shutout.