Even if the White Sox swept the first-place Twins in Minnesota this weekend, they were still going to come out in pretty sorry shape.
That scenario ended with a quick thud Friday night at Target Field.
Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn threw only 12 pitches in the first inning, but the right-hander was tagged for 5 runs on 4 hits and stung by an error when second baseman Elvis Andrus dropped a relay throw.
That set the tone for the Twins’ 9-4 win, dropping the fourth-place White Sox (41-58) 10 games out of the top spot in the AL Central.
“In that first inning, we made a couple mistakes that cost us some runs and it seemed like every mistake Lance made, they hit it hard,” manager Pedro Grifol told reporters. “He gave up five in that inning, but we didn’t play good baseball.”
Lynn hasn’t been good out of the gate all season. The veteran starter now has a 10.80 ERA in the first inning, the highest in baseball.
Lynn has also had big problems keeping the ball in the park.
He gave up 4 home runs to Minnesota, including a pair in the first inning. After Andrew Benintendi led off the game with a homer on Twins starter Joe Ryan’s first pitch, Alex Kirilloff answered with a 2-run shot and Byron Buxton made it 5-1 with a 3-run homer.
Buxton, who was 0-for-26 coming into the game, also hit a solo homer off Lynn in the fourth inning, as did Ryan Jeffers.
Lynn has given up 28 home runs this season, the most in MLB.
“I didn’t have bad stuff, I just didn’t execute pitches,” Lynn said after giving up 9 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks in 6⅔ innings. “When I did execute a pitch, it didn’t go my way. That’s part of the game and that’s kind of been my year so far.
“You’ve just got to keep going. I was able to get deep in the game and make sure the bullpen didn’t get overused.”
An error by right fielder Zach Remillard in the seventh inning led to 2 more unearned runs.
“They jumped out early,” Lynn said. “Made a couple mistakes, had some bad luck, gave up a bunch of runs. When I made a pitch that wasn’t an out in the bad innings, that’s just part of the game sometimes. You’ve got to make pitches to get out of that.
“But when it’s all said and done, I gave up 4 home runs. It’s hard to win when you do that.”
The White Sox cut Minnesota’s lead to 7-4 on Yasmani Grandal’s 2-run homer in the sixth inning before the Twins answered back in the seventh.
First baseman Andrew Vaughn, who is second on the Sox with 54 RBI, missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his left foot.