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The White Sox hit a couple of homers off a left-handed starter, and Lance Lynn pitched seven beautiful innings. That’s been an incomplete formula for most of the season, but the White Sox put it together tonight for a valuable win in Seattle.
The game grew unnecessarily tense at the end, but considering the Mariners had won seven in a row — including the last three against the Guardians in Cleveland — any win will do. The Sox were able to dust themselves off from a humdrum loss against the Twins, and now they’ve won five of six.
Liam Hendriks made a little bit of a mess in the ninth, going to three-ball counts against four of the first five batters he faced. Those turned into a single, a walk and an RBI single on a 3-2 count that put the tying run on third with two outs. Fortunately, Hendriks made his 30th pitch of the night his final pitch by striking out Adam Frazier to secure his 30th save.
Lynn definitely deserved his fifth win, as he struck out 11 over seven innings of one-run ball. That run came in the second inning, negating an AJ Pollock solo shot off Marco Gonzales in the top of the frame thanks to some shoddy defense. Cal Raleigh got to second on his own with a leadoff double, but a Yasmani Grandal passed ball helped him to third, and he scored because Andrew Vaughn broke the wrong way on Abraham Toro’s routine fly to right, and “makeup speed” is not in his toolbox.
That left runners on first and second with still just one out, but Lynn ended the inning himself with a pair of strikeouts, and he ended up retiring the last 17 batters he faced. He only allowed three hits and a walk, and two of those hits should’ve been caught (Lynn was baffled by Julio Rodriguez’s 45.1 mph floater past the mound in the bottom of the first).
Lynn just needed a little bit of support from the position-player side, and Elvis Andrus stepped up. He put the Sox ahead for good with an opposite-field two-run shot that first landed in Mitch Haniger’s glove, but then rolled over the fence when the impact at the fence caused him to lose possession. That wasn’t the only way it was lucky…
… but considering the number of flies to right field that died on the warning track, the Sox deserved some assistance.
Andrus also helped out plenty in the field, including a slick pick on the left side of the infield to take a single away from Rodriguez and end the seventh, and a diving stop on Jake Lamb’s grounder right of second to help Kendall Graveman win a 13-pitch battle for the second out of the eighth.
That was the limit of the Sox’s support, because Gonzales and two Seattle relievers held them scoreless after the third inning, allowing just five hits and two walks.
The Sox had their best shot to add a run in the eighth, when Andrew Vaughn drew a one-out walk against Penn Murfee, followed by a José Abreu shanked single. Adam Engel, who entered as pinch runner for Vaughn, stole third without a throw, but Eloy Jiménez struck out, and Yasmani Grandal’s status as the slowest player in the league meant that even a hot shot that deflected off Carlos Santana at first base turned into a 3-4-3 with steps to spare.
*Luis Robert started in center and batted seventh, but he went 0-for-4, and the swings still aren’t convincing.
*Romy González scored on the Andrus homer after his single, but he almost crossed paths with Andrus back to first base, as he retreated hard thinking Haniger caught the ball.
*Minnesota lost, so the White Sox are just a game behind the Twins. The Guardians are still in progress.