By MARK GONZALES | Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Lance Lynn pitched four-hit ball through seven innings, Elvis Andrus hit a tiebreaking home run in the fifth and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Wednesday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Lynn (4-5), who was reinstated from the bereavement list before the game, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight for the fifth time this season. The Royals had scored 24 runs in their previous two games.
Chicago (64-66) won for the first time under bench coach Miguel Cairo, who served his second game as acting manager while Tony La Russa is on indefinite leave while he undergoes tests performed by his personal doctors in Arizona to address an unspecified health issue.
“After the last out, he always says, ’twenty-seven outs,’ “ Cairo said. “ ‘And until that last out, you cannot feel comfortable until they get that last out.’
“That’s the feeling. Big deep breath, and let it go and do it again (Thursday).”
The Royals (53-78) lost for the third time in five games. Rookie Bobby Witt hit his 19th home run off Lynn in the fourth, a shot to center that traveled an estimated 441 feet.
Witt’s homer was the 58th hit by a Royals rookie this season, extending the franchise record of 56 set in their inaugural season in 1969.
The Royals didn’t score again until two out in the ninth on a triple by Michael A. Taylor and a single by Michael Massey. Chicago’s Liam Hendriks struck out Hunter Dozier to earn his 29th save.
“Obviously everybody is a little down when you lose your manager,” Lynn said. “You hope that everything is good and everything checks out good. He has some stuff he has to take care of, and we have to do our part to stay in this race.”
Lynn retired the first 10 batters before Witt’s homer, and he immediately loaded the bases before coaxing Dozier to ground into an inning-ending double play.
That turned out to be the break the Sox needed, as AJ Pollock led off the bottom of the fourth by poking a low, outside pitch over the right field fence to tie the game.
Lynn is 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last four starts.
Royals left-hander Kris Bubic (2-10) threw 26 pitches in the first and loaded the bases before getting Pollock to pop to first and Yasmani Grandal to line out to right. Grandal returned from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and was reinstated from the 10-day injured list before the game.
Bubic walked three of the first seven batters he faced, but was undone by the homers. Andrus hit his home run two pitches after missing a pitch on a hit-and-run play that resulted in Romy Gonzalez getting thrown out at second.
Bubic has allowed four homers in his last two starts after pitching 24 consecutive innings without allowing a homer. He is 0-4 lifetime against the Sox, despite posting a 2.76 ERA in nine games.
“He made good pitches when he had to get us out of trouble,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He was in a mess from the top, but made the pitches, and guys made the plays behind him.”
The Sox added two insurance runs in the seventh on a grounder by Andrus and a two-out single by Jose Abreu.
Andrus became the 13th Sox player to bat leadoff, tying a franchise record set in 1976.
“It was a good game for us to go out there and compete and do it for (La Russa), knowing that every time we play good, he’s going to feel a lot better,” Andrus said.
Royals: C Salvador Perez (back tightness) was scratched from the lineup and is listed as day to day. “The longer he sat around after his pregame routine, it tightened up,” Matheny said.
White Sox: CF Luis Robert (left wrist soreness) missed his fifth consecutive start and remains day to day, Cairo said. Robert entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement.
White Sox: To make room for Lynn and Grandal, LHP Tanner Banks and C Carlos Perez were optioned to Charlotte.
Royals: Will start RHP Daniel Mengden (0-0, 2.08) to face Chicago in Thursday’s series finale. Mengden will be promoted from Triple-A Omaha, where he is 6-5 with a 4.55 ERA in 21 appearances.
White Sox: Will start RHP Johnny Cueto (6-6, 2.98). Cueto allowed a season-high seven runs in five innings Friday in a loss to the Diamondbacks.
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