CHICAGO – The Laborious Lance Lynn was back Tuesday night, running into deep counts and pitching with more runners on base than he cared for. But there were moments when he showed he can be a strike-throwing machine.
One such moment came in the fifth inning, when went through the No. 2, 3, and 4 hitters in the White Sox lineup with only nine pitches, setting himself for at least a solid six-inning outing.
He went out for that inning with just one walk and eight strikeouts, that last one the 1,000th of his career. Lynn had a two-run lead and was eyeing his sixth victory.
But Lynn quickly fell apart in the sixth ... and it had little to do with pitching. The White Sox took advantage to score three runs, and they added on from there for a 8-4 victory in the rain-delayed opener of the Twins’ nine-game road trip to Chicago and Milwaukee.
Matt Davidson led off the sixth inning with a first-pitch tapper to Lynn’s left. The burly righthander went to scoop the ball up, but he overran it. He then reached back for the ball and slipped on the wet grass.
On Lynn’s next pitch, Leury Garcia followed with a bouncer up the middle, a double-play ball. But Lynn reached for the ball and deflected it — to the area where Brian Dozier had vacated to cover the bag.
Kevan Smith followed on Lynn’s final pitch of the night with a single to left to load the bases. Twins manager Paul Molitor replaced Ryan Pressly to put out the fire, but he walked Tim Anderson to force in a run and make it 4-3.
Pressly followed by striking out Adam Engel for the first out. Lefthander Taylor Rogers entered and retired Yoan Moncada — a switch hitter batting .154 against lefties — to pop out, and it looked as though the Twins might escape the inning with the lead.
But Rogers fell behind 2-0 to Yolmer Sanchez, rallied to even the count before throwing a ball. With the bases loaded and the fans buzzing, Rogers tried a fastball away, but Sanchez went with the pitch, slapping it to right for a two-run single.
And just like that, Lynn (5-6) went from in control to losing to an AL Central team for the first time this season. In five-plus innings, he gave up four earned runs on eight hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. His ERA rose to 4.81.
Avisail Garcia homered off Alan Busenitz in the seventh, and Chicago added another two runs after loading the bases with no outs against Busenitz in the eighth.
The weather forecast Tuesday predicted that rain would be a constant threat all day, and it was. The start of game was delayed 1 hour, 45 minutes, and the rain came and went as the night went on. But the showers were scattered so much that, at one point, fans on side of the stadium ran for cover during a downpour while the other half remained in their seats, barely touched.
The Twins touched White Sox righthander Reynaldo Lopez with a solo homer from Brian Dozier in the second and another solo shot from from Ehire Adrianza in the third.
But Adrianza set up the White Sox two-run third inning with an errant throw to first on Engel’s grounder. Yoan Moncada tripled Engel in then scored on a ground out as Chicago tied the score 2-2.
The Twins’ bottom three hitters — Mitch Garver, Jake Cave and Adrianza — started the fifth inning with singles, setting up a two-run inning that gave their team a 4-2 lead. But no one reached base again for the Twins. Chicago retired the Twins’ final 15 batters, with Joakim Soria finishing them off in the ninth inning after midnight Wednesday.