White Sox lose third in row to Astros as Lance Lynn has worst start of season

Lynn was roughed up for six runs and eight hits in four innings Saturday night in Houston. His ERA rose from an American League-best 1.51 to 2.02.

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Lance Lynn walks back to the mound after Houston Astros’ Robel Garcia hit a three-run double during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

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HOUSTON — The White Sox seemed out of it as soon as third baseman Yoan Moncada made a two-base throwing error on leadoff man Jose Altuve’s grounder and right-hander Lance Lynn threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the first inning.

And when Robel Garcia drove in three runs with a double to give the Astros a four-run lead in the third Saturday, the Sox (43-28) were well on their way to a 7-3 loss, their third defeat in as many games in the series. The Astros (42-28) won their sixth game in a row.

Lynn (7-3), the American League leader with a 1.51 ERA entering the game, saw that rise to 2.02 with his worst start of the season. He allowed six runs (five earned) and eight hits in four innings.

‘‘Just didn’t make the big pitch against them when I needed to when they scored the four runs [in the third],’’ Lynn said. ‘‘It’s that simple. They do a good job of being on top of every pitch there is. In and out, up and down. Seems like they’re ready for it.’’

Astros left-hander Framber Valdez (4-0, 1.67 ERA) won his sixth consecutive decision dating to last season. Andrew Vaughn hit an opposite-field home run and Danny Mendick scored on an errant throw by catcher Martin Maldonado after a wild pitch by Valdez to pull the Sox to 6-3 in the seventh, but the rally ended there.

‘‘They’re not playing any harder than we are, they’re just playing better,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘Better pitching at a certain time and a better at-bat.’’

‘‘It’s been a tough couple of days, but we need to get back on the horse [Sunday],’’ Vaughn said.

Ruiz leaves with sore knee

After right-hander Jose Ruiz allowed a homer to Carlos Correa in the eighth, he left the game with discomfort in his right knee. Ruiz was being further evaluated, the Sox said.

It’s up to Keuchel

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will start Sunday against the Astros, for whom he won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015 and whom he helped to win a World Series in 2019. He will try to prevent the Sox from being swept in the four-game series.

‘‘I don’t know if it’s really going to register with me until in the moment or afterward,’’ said Keuchel, who has been exchanging pregame handshakes and embraces with Astros personnel before every game. ‘‘It’s going to be a little weird. It’s a place I never thought I was going to leave.

‘‘I have a lot of guys over there I have big-time admiration for, still, and I have a lot of contact with. And [former general manager Jeff] Luhnow’s not there anymore, so I don’t have anybody to dislike. We never got along, no bones about it. But I like everybody else over there, so it’s going to be weird.’’

Luhnow was fired early in 2020 after Major League Baseball suspended him in connection with the Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal.

‘‘We’re out there winning ballgames essentially for him because he ran the front office, and there was just no communication whatsoever from that front office to the players,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘As I grew into my role and a couple of other guys grew into their roles, it was just a complete lack of respect. And I didn’t like him.’’

Keuchel is 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA in his last eight starts.

Cespedes sighting

His visa problems behind him, top Cuban outfield prospect Yoelqui Cespedes started for Class A Winston-Salem after being added to the roster Saturday.

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