Lance Lynn walks back to the mound after Houston Astros’ Robel Garcia hit a three-run double during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) | AP Photos
Lance Lynn tagged for six runs over four innings
HOUSTON — The White Sox seemed out of it as soon as Yoan Moncada made a two-base throwing error on leadoff man Jose Altuve’s ground ball and right-hander Lance Lynn’s run-scoring wild pitch in the first inning.
And when Robel Garcia scored three runs with a double to give the Astros a four-run lead Saturday, the Sox (43-28) were well on their way to a 7-3 loss, their third defeat in as many games in a series matching two of the best records in baseball. The Astros (42-28) won their sixth in a row. Two of the three against the Sox weren’t close.
Lynn (7-3), the AL earned run average leader going in, saw his ERA rise from 1.51 to 2.02 with his worst start as a Sox, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk.
“Just didn’t make the big pitch against them when I needed to when they scored the four runs that inning,” Lynn said. “It’s that simple. They do a good job of being on top of every pitch there is. In and out, up and down. Seems like they’re ready for it.”
Astros lefty Framber Valdez (4-0, 1.67) won his sixth straight start dating to last season. Andrew Vaughn’s opposite field homer, his sixth, and Danny Mendick’s single, advances on Tim Anderson’s fly out, a Valdez wild pitch and catcher Martin Maldonado’s throw into left field got the Sox within 6-3 in the seventh.
“They’re not playing any harder than we are, they’re just playing better,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Better pitching at a certain time and a better at-bat.”
“It’s been a tough couple days but we need to get back on the horse [Sunday],” Vaughn said.
Ruiz leaves with sore knee
After right-hander Jose Ruiz allowed a homer to Carlos Correa in the eighth, he exited the game with discomfort in his right knee. Ruiz was being further evaluated, the Sox said.
It’s up to Keuchel
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel starts against the Astros Sunday where he won a Cy Young and was part of a World Series winner, trying to prevent a four-game series sweep.
“I don’t know if it’s really going to register with me until in the moment or afterward,” said Keuchel, who has been exchanging pregame handshakes and embraces with Astros personnel before every game. “It’s going to be a little weird. It’s a place I never thought I was going to leave.
“I have a lot of guys over there I have big-time admiration for, still, and I have a lot of contact with. And [former general manager Jeff] Luhnow’s not there anymore, so I don’t have anybody to dislike. We never got along, no bones about it. But I like everybody else over there, so it’s going to be weird.”
Luhnow was fired in 2020 after Major League Baseball he was suspended the Astros for involvement in the electronic sign-stealing scandal.
“We’re out there winning ballgames essentially for him, because he ran the front office, and there was just no communication whatsoever from that front office to the players,” Keuchel said. “As I grew into my role and a couple other guys grew into their roles, it was just a complete lack of respect. And I didn’t like him.”
Keuchel is 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA over his last eight starts.
His visa problems behind him, top Cuban outfield prospect Yoelqui Cespedes started for Class A Winston-Salem after being added to the roster Saturday.