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Astros eye series split with White Sox

Lucas Giolito aims to extend his winning streak and avenge one of his worst outings of the season when the Chicago White Sox host the Houston Astros in the finale of a four-game series on Thursday afternoon.

Giolito (9-6, 4.92 ERA) has surrendered just seven runs during his current three-start winning streak. The 28-year-old right-hander overcame one rough frame en route to a seven-inning performance in Chicago’s 6-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

“I could have done a better job limiting damage that (second) inning, but I was angry,” Giolito said. “A lot of times when you’re angry, it can turn into frustration. That takes you out of it. But I made it a point to channel it into aggression toward executing pitches and started finding a rhythm in the fourth, fifth inning and carried it through seven.”

Giolito likely was upset in his last meeting with the Astros, too. He was blitzed for a season-high eight runs on seven hits — including two homers — while lasting five-plus innings in a 13-3 thrashing by Houston on June 17.

He is just 2-4 with a 5.08 ERA in six career starts against the Astros.

Giolito will need to pitch carefully to Alex Bregman, who was 12-for-27 (.444) with four doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs during an eight-game stretch before going 0-for-4 in Houston’s 3-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday.

The Astros recorded the Wednesday victory after squandering late leads in each of the first two games of the series. In the latest contest, Houston mustered just five hits and manufactured the majority of its offense.

“We’ve lost some key guys,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We lost (Aledmys) Diaz and Michael (Brantley), so it’s a big blow and that’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to manufacture some runs and hopefully get some big blows in between.

“In the meantime, we might just have to steal more or hit-and-run more — whatever we can do to push some runs across the plate.”

Houston will send right-hander Luis Garcia (9-8, 4.03 ERA) to the mound on Thursday in a bid to salvage a split of the series.

Garcia, 25, snapped a three-start losing skid despite allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings of a 7-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday.

He received a no-decision in his lone career outing against the White Sox despite permitting one run and striking out eight in seven innings on June 18, 2021.

Garcia will need to keep tabs on Jose Abreu, who has recorded five straight multi-hit games. The 2020 American League MVP is 11-for-17 (.647) with four runs in that stretch.

Chicago’s Luis Robert likely will remain out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game despite serving as a pinch runner on Wednesday. Robert has experienced soreness in his left wrist, and he received an injection to address inflammation on Tuesday.

“I think it’s unlikely (he’ll start Thursday). Give him a good workout, but it’s unlikely,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Maybe Friday. … We are not going to push him. He’s going to have (to) be able to swing normal and not be restricted because that’s not fair. It’s dangerous.”

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