Lance Lynn played for Tony La Russa as a rookie in 2011.
The Chicago White Sox manager, who is out indefinitely and scheduled to undergo further testing with doctors in Arizona, was on Lynn’s mind after the right-hander pitched seven strong innings Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals.
“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 allowed one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in a 4-2 victory in front of 17,168 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“(Lynn) was attacking the strike zone,” said bench coach Miguel Cairo, who is filling in for La Russa. “He pitched unbelievable. He made some pitches. He was the man of the game.”
AJ Pollock and Elvis Andrus homered for the Sox, who snapped a five-game losing streak.
The third-place Sox picked up a game in the American League Central standings and trail the Cleveland Guardians by five games.
“(La Russa) always says, ‘27 outs,’” Cairo said. “And you cannot feel comfortable until they get that last out. (Wednesday) that’s the feeling. Big deep breath, and let it go and do it again tomorrow.”
La Russa missed Tuesday’s game at the direction of his doctors. The Sox announced Wednesday that he is out indefinitely.
Lynn pitched for La Russa with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2011 season was La Russa’s last in the dugout until returning to manage the Sox in 2021.
“You reach out, you tell him you love him, make sure he takes care of himself,” Lynn said. “That’s all you can do. You don’t want to be bombarding with a lot of stuff because he has a bunch of stuff going on. But we’re here for him, we’re going to rally, do everything we can to win ballgames for him.”
Lynn retired the first 10 batters Wednesday. That streak ended with one out in the fourth on a solo homer by Bobby Witt Jr.
The next three batters reached, but Lynn escaped the bases-loaded situation by getting Hunter Dozier to ground to third, where Josh Harrison began a nicely turned 5-4-3 double play with second baseman Romy Gonzalez.
“It was huge,” Lynn said of the double play. “Cruising along there, make a mistake to Witt, he put a good swing on it. And a couple of jam jobs, end-of-bat stuff, which is part of it, and (then) they were able to turn a double-play ball.
“Came back in, Polly was able to tie it up and work from there. So it was good.”
Pollock began the bottom of the fourth with a homer to tie the game.
Andrus put the Sox ahead the next inning with a 430-foot homer to left, his ninth of the season and first since joining the team on Aug. 19.
“It was kind of like a hit-and-run (earlier in the at-bat) and I missed the ball by far (and Gonzalez was thrown out at second),” Andrus said. “But after that I was just trying to stay short.
“(Royals starter Kris Bubic has) been throwing a lot of fastballs. I’ve faced him a couple times this year, so I was looking for my pitch and I was really lucky that he threw it where I was looking for it and I put a good swing on it.”
The Sox scored twice in the seventh. Andrus brought in a run on a groundout and José Abreu had an RBI single to make it 4-1.
Reliever Kendall Graveman pitched a perfect eighth, which included an impressive leaping catch by Gonzalez. Liam Hendriks allowed one run in the ninth but collected his 29th save as the Sox won for just the third time in 13 games.
“I love that challenge,” Cairo said when asked how Tuesday compared with Wednesday. “Like I said (Tuesday), I’m always going to be prepared. Sometimes you’ve got to go with your guts and make some moves you’ve got to make. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t go your way.
“But we’ve got such a good group of coaches in there, they’re going to help me. They helped me (Tuesday) and (Wednesday). That’s something I tell everyone. This is about being together, a unit, and we’ve got to do this for Tony too.”
Lynn said of La Russa: “He’s been doing it a long time (35th season as a big-league manager). This is what he loves to do. This has been his life, so you never want to see anyone under the weather or whatever it might be.
“We love him. We just want to make sure he’s good to go and we’re going to do our part. Hopefully he comes back and hopefully we’re making a push.”
The Sept. 14 Sox-Colorado Rockies game at Guaranteed Rate Field will start at 1:10 p.m., the team announced Wednesday. The game was originally scheduled for 7:10 p.m. but was moved to the afternoon with the Sox scheduled to play a makeup game in Cleveland that begins at 12:10 p.m. the next day.