La Russa, Lynn beat old team as Sox down Cardinals 5-1

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Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn delivers during the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, May 24, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO — Tony La Russa wound up a winner in his first game against the team that ensured his Hall of Fame induction as the White Sox beat the Cardinals 5-1 Monday night behind Lance Lynn’s arm and Andrew Vaughn’s bat.

The victory ended a three-game skid for the AL Central leaders, who were swept by the New York Yankees after winning 10 of 13. The NL Central-leading Cardinals dropped their second straight.

Lynn (5-1), who debuted with St. Louis and relieved in the Game 7 World Series win that closed La Russa’ time with the Cardinals in 2011, pitched hitless ball until Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single in the sixth.

Lynn allowed three hits while striking out four with three walks in seven innings. Michael Kopech worked the last two innings, fanning three.

“I’m not going to lie to you, that was probably the most satisfying win I’ve ever had in my career not counting the playoffs,” remarked Lynn. “I enjoyed it quite a bit beating them. That’s one of the teams I do not have a Major League win against and now I do.”

Lynn was asked what his emotions were like facing his old squad.

“Prove it. Hatefulness. Little bit of everything.”

After winning a World Series in Oakland, La Russa guided the Cardinals to two World Series championships, three pennants and nine postseason appearances from 1996-2011. He left the team as its all-time leader in wins and games managed.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, infielder Matt Carpenter and pitcher Adam Wainwright were members of the last St. Louis team that played for La Russa. Current St. Louis manager Mike Shildt is close to La Russa.

“It’s uncomfortable, it’s distracting and you just try to tune it out, but I know it’s a different series,” the 76-year-old La Russa said shortly before the three-game set began.

La Russa sent coach Shelley Duncan to meet Shildt for the pregame lineup exchange at home plate.

Vaughn connected off Kwang Hyun Kim (1-2) to score Yermín Mercedes for a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Tim Anderson added a two-run double off reliever Daniel Ponce de Leon later in the inning.

Mercedes had a sacrifice fly off Kodi Whitley in the seventh.

HEADED WEST

Joe West tied the record for most games as a major league umpire with No. 5,375. The 68-year-old West, who started in the bigs in 1976, was at first base as he matched the mark set by Hall of Famer Bill Klem from 1905-41.

West is set to break the record during Tuesday night’s game.

BUG ATTACK!

Kim drew jeers from the crowd after stepping off the mound and flailing at what appeared to be an insect swarm during the fourth. He got the last laugh, however, when he shooed the bugs and struck out Leury García to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

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