Lance Lynn is one of the pitchers standing in between Lucas Giolito and higher Cy Young consideration.
Tonight, the White Sox did what they could to clear a path for their boy.
They struck out 10 times against Lynn, but they struck back for 11 hits and seven runs, the last two of which scored on Yoan Moncada’s second homer in as many nights. The White Sox have now won three in a row and four out of five, and Dylan Cease picked up his first win against a team that isn’t from Detroit.
This one could have been a rout in the other direction, as Cease, who often needs a slap in the face before his fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in, fell behind 3-0 after four batters on a walk, single and Willie Calhoun three-run homer.
But those were the only runs the Rangers scored all night, while the Sox offense eventually unloaded a steadier supply with a lot of two-out magic.
Second inning: Matt Skole and Yolmer Sánchez, the White Sox’ seventh and eighth hitters, managed to draw two-out walks before No. 9 hitter Adam Engel roped a plate-splitting cutter into the left-field corner to score both.
Fourth inning: Sánchez drove in Jon Jay with a single to tie the game at 3 and took second on the throw home. Engel struck out this time for the second out. Leury García picked him up by rifling a double to right field before scoring on a lucky single by Tim Anderson.
Sixth inning: With García on second and two outs, Jose Abreu smoked a double over the head of Delino DeShields to chase Lynn from the game. Lynn’s line didn’t close until a batter later, when Moncada roped a Shawn Kelley slider into the Goose Island for the game’s final runs.
Lynn’s ERA rose from 3.60 to 3.85, even though his FIP will probably go in the other direction:
As for Cease, he ended up striking out the side in the first around the homer en route to a career-high nine. He mainly accomplished it with his fastball, getting nine of his 13 swinging strikes with the heat. James McCann stopped calling curveballs, which helped Cease get into better counts, and the slider, while not a wipeout pitch, turned into a lot of usable strikes as well.
He only ran into additional trouble in the fifth, as his run of retiring 11 consecutive batters ended with a pair of singles to open the inning. Fortunately, batless catcher Jeff Mathis came to the plate and couldn’t get a bunt down before striking out, and a couple of deepish but harmless flyouts ended the threat.
*Tim Anderson made one helluva throw from deep in the hole.
*The teams wore their Players Weekend jerseys, and the White Sox are one of the few teams around baseball that actually look OK in theirs, since it’s not a dramatic departure from their often-worn alternate jerseys. The all-white Rangers looked like ice cream men, painters or caddies at Augusta.