CHICAGO (AP) — There wasn’t much doubt Lance Lynn would go back out to finish this one. Manager Tony La Russa turned to him and asked how he was feeling.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Are you good?’” Lynn said. “I said, ‘I’m gonna finish it. Does that sound good?’ He goes, ‘Sounds good.’ And that was pretty much it.”
Lynn pitched a five-hitter for the first complete game and shutout in the major leagues this season, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on a rainy Thursday.
Lynn (1-0) struck out 11 and walked none in his second shutout in 238 career starts, his first since a five-hitter against the New York Yankees on May 27, 2014.
Acquired from Texas in the offseason, Lynn threw 79 of 111 pitches for strikes in his fourth career complete game. The 33-year-old right-hander struck out the first three batters and did not allow a runner until Salvador Pérez led off the fifth with an infield single.
La Russa saw Lynn’s potential when he managed him in 2011 as a rookie with St. Louis. Lynn went on to become an innings-eating workhorse who can keep hitters off balance with a variety of pitches.
“He was really competitive,” La Russa said. “Now, what he’s added is experience. Ball does different things. He has three different fastballs. He has a nice breaking ball. He’s really just become a veteran pitcher who understands, keeps adding here, adding there so the hitters have to see different things. It’s really impressive.”
Moncada hit a two-run homer in the first, and Mercedes followed with a long shot to left-center against Brad Keller to make it 3-0. The 28-year-old rookie went 2 for 4, giving him a major league-leading 15 hits in 27 at-bats. And the White Sox came away with an easy win in a game delayed more than two hours at the start.
La Russa had not managed a home game on the South Side since a loss to the California Angels on June 11, 1986. Chicago fired him soon in a move chairman Jerry Reinsdorf regretted allowing, and the White Sox brought back the Hall of Famer in October to replace Rick Renteria, hoping he can push them to a championship.
“I could feel the excitement,” La Russa said. “The fans are looking forward to watching this club.”