Lance Lynn summed up his start Saturday against the Minnesota Twins as “frustrating.”
The right-hander gave up a season-high three homers 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 Sox were attempting to move above .500 for the first time since May 25, when they were 22-21. Instead, they’re 45-46 and trail the division-leading Twins by four games.
“You look at the third (inning) where you give 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’s 1-3 with a 7.50 ERA.
“There are some hits that are frustrating, infield hits or stuff like that, and that’s part of the gig, especially when you’re going bad, 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 stuff like that. You have to keep pitching. I put us in a hole early, and we weren’t able to come back.”
It was the third straight start in which Lynn allowed at least five earned runs.
“Ball’s coming out the hand good,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “What’s not happening, between him and (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) they can get it right.”
Lynn gave up eight in four-plus innings Monday against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. The Guardians scored five runs in the first, which featured a couple of infield hits and a broken-bat two-run single.
The Twins utilized the long ball Saturday.
Luis Arraez led off the bottom of the first with a 403-foot home run to right.
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 homers are the most Lynn allowed in a game since giving up three against the Cubs on Aug. 28 last season at Guaranteed Rate Field.
He allowed a season-high seven runs in that start, which was the exception to an outstanding year in which he finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
Lynn is working for that type of consistency this season, one that began on the injured list after tearing a tendon in his right knee during spring training. Saturday was his seventh start.
He finished Saturday retiring the side in order in the fourth and fifth, striking out three. It’s something he can look to build on after the All-Star break.
“It’s been pushing pretty hard since surgery to try to get back, try to be on the field and be productive,” Lynn said. “Got back, pushing hard there and now it’s take a deep breath and get ready for the second half and be the pitcher you have been before. Trying to play catch-up when you’re recovering, it’s not fun, but I have the stuff to do it. I just have to make pitches and get outs.
“(The All-Star break is) more like a deep breath of ‘Hey, all right, the first half is done. You got back, you’re here, you’re healthy and it’s time to go (stinking) get it.’ That’s where I’m at. I’ve got to use this time to get things right. …
“Physically I’m in a good spot to do the things I need to do. Now it’s finding that rhythm and going out and doing it.”
The Sox, playing without center fielder Luis Robert (lightheadedness) and left fielder Eloy Jiménez (tightness in his right leg), tried to chip away at the deficit.
They scored once in the fourth on a José Abreu groundout and twice in the sixth on an Andrew Vaughn single to right. The Sox had two more runners on in the sixth, but right fielder Max Kepler caught AJ Pollock’s sinking liner to end the inning.
Twins starter Dylan Bundy allowed one run in 10 innings in his first two starts against the Sox this season. The Sox fared better Saturday as Bundy left after allowing three runs on five hits in 5 ⅓ innings.
They hit some balls to the warning track — Gavin Sheets to right in the second and Josh Harrison to left in the third and Tim Anderson in the seventh to right against Griffin Jax — but they all ended in outs.
The Sox brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth. Sheets struck out on a 3-2 curve on the seventh pitch of an at-bat against Jhoan Durán. Pollock hit a liner to Correa at shortstop.
Yoán Moncada had three hits and scored twice. And La Russa pointed to the final at-bat of the game, when Anderson battled Duran before grounding out on the 10th pitch, as one of his takeaways.
“That was a hard-fought game, we came back, put some runs up,” said Vaughn, who was 2-for-4. “Everybody had great at-bats. … I heard Tony say when Tim was up there, ‘That’s an All-Star at-bat.’ He’s fouling off pitches. Guy is throwing 100 mph with a 98-mph splitter. He was just battling. It was good to see.”
The Sox couldn’t dig out of the early hole. Now the best they can do before the All-Star break is return to .500. They’ll get a chance in Sunday’s series finale with Dylan Cease on the mound.
“We win (Sunday) we’re a .500 team after playing some below standard 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 a push.
“We’re not in a terrible spot. We could be way worse with the way we’ve played. We’re not. So we have to get going.”