CHICAGO — Well, that’s one way to put a stranglehold on a rotation spot.
Replacing the demoted Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn allowed two hits in 7 1⁄3 innings in the Yankees’ much-needed 7-0 win over the White Sox on Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Huge pick-me-up,” Aaron Boone said of Lynn’s outing.
Lynn helped the Yankees snap a season-high five-game losing streak. They were coming off a miserable weekend in Boston in which they suffered a four-game sweep and fell 9½ games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Boston was idle Monday, allowing the Yankees (69-42) to trim their deficit to nine games. They lead the A’s by three games for the first wild card and the Mariners by five games for the second wild card.
Lynn, 31, one of Brian Cashman’s primary trade deadline acquisitions, retired 19 straight hitters after allowing a two-out single in the first. He struck out nine and walked one.
Lynn flew ahead of the club and watched the end of Sunday night’s 10-inning loss, a game in which the Yankees blew a three-run lead in the ninth.
“I went to bed,” he said, “knowing I needed to show up today.”
Did he put a little extra pressure on himself, given how the weekend in Boston went? Said Lynn, “I would say no, but when you’re playing for the Yankees, it’s a little different. I came into this start knowing that I needed to do my job and I needed to do it at a high level.’’
He got his chance at the rotation after piggybacking for an ineffective Gray last Wednesday against the Orioles, throwing 4 1⁄3 scoreless innings.
Against the White Sox (41-71), who had won four straight, Lynn overcame a shaky first inning, one in which he said he might have been “over-amped.”
Gleyber Torres and Neil Walker each had two hits and two RBIs. Both homered in the eighth, with Torres’ 18th making it 5-0 and Walker’s fourth, a two-run shot, giving the Yankees a 7-0 lead. Didi Gregorius added two hits and an RBI.
Lynn needed 27 pitches to work out of a jam in the first, but after Daniel Palka’s infield hit, he didn’t allow another baserunner until Nicky Delmonico’s leadoff single in the eighth. “Just mixing the four-seam and the two-seamer, as a hitter it’s hard when you have to worry about two different fastballs,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “That, along with mixing his off-speed pitches, too, he was just real ly effective.”
White Sox starter Dylan Covey came in 4-7 with a 5.57 ERA, including 1-5 with an 8.89 ERA in his previous six starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1⁄3 innings.
Giancarlo Stanton drew a walk with one out in the fourth and Gregorius followed with the Yankees’ first hit, a line-drive double off the right-centerfield wall. Aaron Hicks singled to center to make it 1-0 and put runners at the corners. Torres — in a 6-for-36 slide since coming off the disabled list, including 0-for-12 on this trip — singled to make it 2-0.
Higashioka singled with one out in the fifth and went to third on Brett Gardner’s single. With Stanton up, Covey planted a curve in the dirt for a wild pitch, allowing Higashioka to score for a 3-0 lead and moving Gardner to third. Gregorius’ second hit, a sharp single to center, made it 4-0 and gave the shortstop 17 RBIs in his last 18 games.
On this night, that was more than enough for Lynn.
“I’ve seen this guy pitch like this for most of his career,” Boone said. “When he came here, I felt like we were getting a guy that was very capable of this. Hopefully, this is what we can expect to see routinely.”