CHICAGO – Lucas Giolito quietly walked to the mound for the ninth inning, piped-in fake crowd noise wafting through the ballpark and cardboard cutouts dotting the stands.
Moments later, the Chicago White Sox right-hander threw the final pitch in a truly bizarre performance.
A no-fan no-no.
With the seats at Guaranteed Rate Field empty, Giolito pitched the first no-hitter of the pandemic-delayed season, striking out 13 in leading the White Sox over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 Tuesday night.
“2020 has been a very strange year,” said Giolito, who conducted a postgame interview while wearing a mask. "Obviously a lot of weird stuff going on with COVID and the state of the world, so may as well throw this in the mix.”
Sounds like he didn't mind that nobody saw it. Well, almost no one.
After right fielder Adam Engel extended on the run to catch Erik Gonzalez’s slicing drive toward the line for the final out, the hollers of Giolito’s teammates in the middle of the diamond echoed around the stadium.
“I’m just stoked for Lucas and so happy and ecstatic and emotional for Lucas,” Engel said. “It stinks we couldn’t celebrate the way most no-hitters get celebrated.”