MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Lance Lynn summed up his start against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday as “frustrating.”
The right-hander allowed a season-high three home runs as the Chicago White Sox saw their winning streak end at four with a 6-3 loss in front of 28,514 at Target Field.
The Red Sox were trying to move above .500 for the first time since May 25, when they were 22-21. Instead, they are 45-46 and four games behind the division-leading Twins.
“You look at the third (inning) where you’re giving up five (runs), but you look at your day (Saturday) you’re giving up six runs on three balls,” Lynn said. “So you have to keep them in the ballpark and make better pitches.”
Lynn allowed six runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in five innings. He is 1-3 with a 7.50 ERA.
“There are some hits that are frustrating, infield or things like that, and that’s part of the job, especially when you go wrong, it seems like everything is a hit,” Lynn said. “And then I compounded that with the home run ball. That’s what you can’t do.
“You can’t worry about jam shots and things like that. You have to keep throwing. I put us in a hole early and we couldn’t come back.”
It was the third straight start in which Lynn gave up at least five earned runs.
“The ball is going well,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “What’s not going on, between him and (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) they can get it right.”
Lynn gave up eight over four innings Monday against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. The Guardians scored five runs in the first, which featured a pair of infield hits and a broken-bat, two-run single.
The Twins used the long ball on Saturday.
Luis Arraez led off the bottom of the first with a 403-foot home run to right field.
Carlos Correa made it 3-0 with a 421-foot, two-run homer in the third on a slider. Singles by Byron Buxton and Max Kepler followed. Jorge Polanco jumped on the first pitch of his at-bat, a sinker, for a three-run homer.
The three home runs are the most Lynn has allowed in a game since allowing three against the Cubs on Aug. 28 of last season at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He allowed a season-high seven runs in that start, which was the exception to a breakout year in which he finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting.
Lynn is working toward that kind of consistency this season, one that began on the disabled list after tearing a tendon in his right knee during spring training. Saturday was her seventh start.
He finished Saturday by retiring the winger in order in the fourth and fifth, striking out three. It’s something he can build on after the All-Star break.
“He’s been pushing quite a bit since the surgery to try to recover, try to be on the field and be productive,” Lynn said. “I came back, pushing hard there and now it’s taking a deep breath and getting ready for the second half and being the pitcher that he’s been before. Trying to catch up when you’re recovering isn’t fun, but I’ve got the stuff to do it. I just have to make pitches and get out.
“(The All-Star break is) more like a deep breath of ‘Hey, okay, the first half is over. You’re back, you’re here, you’re healthy and it’s time to go (stinky) to get it.’ That’s where I am. I have to use this time to make things right. …
“Physically I’m in a good place to do the things I need to do. Now it’s finding that rhythm and going out there and doing it.”
The Sox, playing without center fielder Luis Robert (dizziness) and left fielder Eloy Jimenez (right leg tightness), tried to reduce the deficit.
They scored once in the fourth on José Abreu’s grounder and twice in the sixth on Andrew Vaughn’s single to right field. The Sox had two more runners in the sixth inning, but right fielder Max Kepler caught AJ Pollock’s sinking line drive to end the inning.
Twins starter Dylan Bundy allowed one run in 10 innings in his first two starts against the Red Sox this season. The Sox fared better on Saturday when Bundy left after giving up three runs on five hits in 5 ⅓ innings.
They hit a few balls to the warning lane — Gavin Sheets to the right in the second and Josh Harrison to the left in the third and Tim Anderson in the seventh to the right against Griffin Jax — but they all ended up in outs.
The Sox brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth. Sheets struck out on a 3-2 curveball on the seventh pitch of an at-bat against Jhoan Duran. Pollock lined out Correa at shortstop.
Yoán Moncada had three hits and scored twice. And La Russa pointed to the game’s final at-bat, when Anderson battled Duran before rolling on the 10th pitch, as one of his takeaways.
“That was a close game, we came back, we put in some runs,” said Vaughn, who was 2-for-4. “Everyone had great at-bats. … I heard Tony say when Tim was there, ‘That’s an All-Star at-bat.’ He is fouling the pitches. Guy is throwing 100mph with a 98mph splitter. He was just fighting. He was good to see.”
The Sox couldn’t get out of the starting hole. Now the best they can do before the All-Star break is to get back to .500. They’ll get a chance in Sunday’s series finale with Dylan Cease on the mound.
“We won (Sunday), we’re a .500 team after playing substandard baseball, being injured and having some bad luck, to be honest,” Lynn said. “If you can get to .500 (Sunday), take a deep breath, see what the second half entails and make an effort.
“We are not in a terrible place. We could be much worse with the way we have played. They were not. So we have to get going.”