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MILWAUKEE — Lance Lynn has been great this season for the White Sox, but the All-Star right-hander took things to yet another level Sunday night.
The ace of Chicago’s dominant starting rotation held Milwaukee to one run over six innings, while also driving in two runs, to lead the White Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Brewers at American Family Field.
Lynn struck out six while scattering six hits without a walk over six innings to earn his 10th win of the season. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four July starts.
It was exactly the kind of performance the White Sox needed after dropping the first two games of this series between the two Central Division leaders. And it was exactly the kind of performance the White Sox have come to expect from the veteran.
Well, for the most part at least. Lynn’s two-run single in the second inning was his first hit since Sept. 28, 2017, his last start for the Cardinals. He’s pitched in the American League since and had gone 0-for-6 in six plate appearances during Interleague play entering Sunday. He hadn’t even stepped into a batter’s box since April 10, 2019.
So it’s safe to say nobody was expecting much, especially when Lynn fell behind 0-2 against Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff, an All-Star himself.
“I hadn’t had a live at-bat in three or four years,” Lynn said. “It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.”
Considering his role in Chicago’s three-run rally in the second, Lynn made sure the lead held up. He had faced only two batters over the minimum before Tyrone Taylor tripled with one out in the fifth. Taylor scored Milwaukee’s lone run one batter later, when Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled off the center-field wall. But Lynn struck out the next two batters and stranded a pair of baserunners in the sixth to close out another quality outing.
“He had a great comment that I hadn’t heard before,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He said, ‘It’s got to be a good day when you drive in more than you give up.'”
“They were both winners, so it’s all good,” Lynn said. “I got lucky. I got a hit and drove in two runs, and we won, so it was a good night.”
Chicago had lost three games in a row coming into Sunday night’s nationally televised series finale. But it still holds a comfortable lead over the rest of the AL Central. The White Sox nine-game advantage is the largest among the six division leaders in MLB.
Now, many of Chicago’s key contributors are nearing returns from the injured list. That begins Monday, when Eloy Jiménez is expected to be activated from the IL and make his 2021 debut in the series opener in Kansas City.
The White Sox are looking to solidify their lead and prepare for what they hope is a deep postseason run.
“We’re slowly getting healthy, slowly getting our guys back. We’re looking forward to having [Jiménez] back,” Lynn said. “You have to stay within yourself and stay along for the ride here. Day in and day out, you just have to do everything you can to win that game and build on that as the season goes on so you’re ready to go come playoff time.”