6:16 AM UTC
ANAHEIM — It was more like the version of right-hander Lucas Giolito the Angels envisioned when they acquired him from the White Sox ahead of the Trade Deadline on July 26.
After Giolito struggled in his first two starts with his new team, he pitched better in his home debut, striking out seven over six solid innings in a 7-5 win over the Giants on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. It helped the Angels snap their seven-game losing streak, as it was their first win since July 31, or the day before the Trade Deadline.
Manager Phil Nevin jokingly started his postgame press conference with an exaggerated exhale, as he was relieved the Angels finally put an end to their skid.
“We had a lot of gut punches this week,” Nevin said. “When you’re in every game but you lose that many in a row, it bothers the room and hurts everybody. We certainly dug ourselves a hole but we can only dig out of it together.”
Giolito, who was acquired along with reliever Reynaldo López for prospects Edgar Quero and Ky Bush, allowed three runs on three hits and three walks to improve to 7-8 with a 4.37 ERA in 24 starts this year, including 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in three outings with the Angels.
It was an improvement on his first two starts, as he gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in his debut against the Blue Jays on July 28 and allowed nine runs over 3 2/3 innings versus the Braves on Wednesday.
All three runs Tuesday came in the third inning but the Angels took a four-run lead in the first, keyed by RBI singles from Shohei Ohtani and Mike Moustakas and a two-run double from Hunter Renfroe.
“I felt my performance was OK,” Giolito said. “It was really one bad inning. But I think the real story was the offense and defense and the two guys in the ‘pen locking it down. We got a four-run lead right out of the chute and the defense was fantastic. It made my job easier.”
He started his outing by retiring the first seven batters he faced but lost his command in the third, walking two batters and loading the bases with one out. Joc Pederson brought home a run with an infield single on a squibber to third base before Wilmer Flores plated two runs with a single up the middle.
Giolito, though, settled down and got Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis to ground out to get out of the inning without any further damage. He then went on to retire nine of the next 11 batters he faced, including the last two by strikeout, to finish his outing on a high note. Giolito threw 29 pitches in the third but was otherwise efficient, throwing 101 pitches on the night.
“Gio pitched a heck of a game,” Nevin said. “The third inning, he got a little sideways with his secondary stuff, but was able to reel it back in and get some big outs with runners on base. His pitch count got elevated but to get through six was outstanding. His changeup was really good.”
Giolito exited with the Angels up by two runs, as Brandon Drury added a solo homer in the fifth for an insurance run. They tacked on another in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Moustakas, which proved pivotal, as newly acquired reliever Dominic Leone gave up a two-run shot to Flores in the eighth.
But after the Angels scored in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Matt Thaiss, Leone came back to close it out and threw a scoreless ninth. It was the first save of the season for Leone, who was acquired in a trade with the Mets on Aug. 1 for prospect Jeremiah Jackson.
It was just the eighth career save for Leone in his 10-year career and his first career multi-inning save, as closer Carlos Estévez was unavailable after blowing his save opportunity in the series opener on Monday.
“It’s just about winning games,” said Leone, who pitched with the Giants from 2021-22. “We’ve gotten off on a bad foot with me being here and I told the guys I felt like I was the jinx. It’s nice to finally get the ball rolling here. This team fights and claws as hard as any team I’ve seen and so to finally get over the hump is good. Hopefully we can parlay that into some wins.”
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