DETROIT — The first inning could have gotten away from Lance Lynn and the Chicago White Sox.
First, there was a walk. Then left fielder Andrew Benintendi was unable to catch a good dunk attempt that resulted in a double. Finally, on a groundout to third, Yoán Moncada was unsuccessful in trying to tag out the returning runner.
With that, the Detroit Tigers had the bases loaded with no outs.
Somehow, Lynn limited the damage to one run. That was instrumental in a 12-3 win in front of 21,701 Friday at Comerica Park.
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“Going to leadoff after getting three (runs) is not something you want to do,” Lynn said. “We were able to do a few things and I was able to get out of it with just one, and the rest is kind of history.”
Lynn allowed three runs, one earned, on three hits with five strikeouts and five walks in six innings.
“Tremendous start for Lance,” said trainer Pedro Grifol. “He was challenged by things that were out of his control from the start. He threw 56 pitches in the first two innings and had to save some pitches.
“(He) threw 24 total pitches in the third, fourth and fifth and had his best game for me. The challenges he had to go through. He kept throwing”.
The Red Sox (22-31) moved within five games of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central with a win and the Twins’ 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lynn received plenty of offensive support as the Sox had 17 hits, including four by Tim Anderson and three by Moncada. Anderson scored three runs and Moncada had three RBIs.
Andrew Vaughn also drove in three runs, hit a two-run home run and drove in a double.
“We put together great at-bats one through nine,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn helped give Lynn a three-run lead before throwing his first pitch, starting the scoring with the RBI double. Yasmani Grandal drove in two with a single as the Sox scored all three with two outs.
“That’s important. Two-out RBIs are critical to a team’s success,” Grifol said. base with two outs and you put a crooked number on the board, that’s really big.”
The Tigers were in position to get back into the game in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with no outs. Lynn struck out Spencer Torkelson and Nick Maton lined Vaughn at first base. Lynn then had Akil Baddoo ground out to third. A Moncada who went deep had no game for an infield hit that scored a run.
Lynn struck out Miguel Cabrera looking to keep the score 3-1.
“He just kept hitting the strike zone with really good stuff,” Grifol said. “He keeps getting stronger and stronger. What I liked about him (on Friday) and every day is that nothing fazes him so much. He gets mad, but it fuels his adrenaline.”
The Sox responded with a run in the second on an RBI triple by Benintendi.
It was the first of three 3-pointers for the Sox, their most in a game since they hit three on Sept. 9, 2017, against the San Francisco Giants at Guaranteed Rate Field. The second came in the fourth when Clint Frazier tripled and scored on Hanser Alberto’s groundout.
Moncada drove in a run with a triple, and Vaughn followed with a two-run home run in the fifth, extending the lead to 8-1.
That was more than enough for Lynn, who allowed one hit in his last five innings.
“Throughout the season you are going to have moments when you feel good and moments when you don’t. You have to make do with what you have that day,” Lynn said. “Even when I got behind, I was able to make a shot and the defense made a great play behind me.
“I just have to keep improving every day. The walks were bad, but you have to throw a pitch here and there to get out of an inning.”