Guardians’ five-run first dooms White Sox

Lance Lynn allowed eight runs and nine hits in four-plus innings.

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Andres Gimenez slides home with a Guardians run.

Andres Gimenez slides home with a Guardians run.

David Dermer/AP

CLEVELAND — In perhaps the biggest series and road trip of the season, the White Sox needed to get off to a good start.

And, of course, they didn’t in an 8-4 loss to the Guardians on Monday night.

It has been that kind of year.

Coming off two victories at home against the Tigers for a split of a four-game series, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert were retired on six pitches in the first inning. Sox right-hander Lance Lynn then gave up five runs in the bottom of the first.

Lynn, who was victimized by soft but effective contact in a six-hit, strikeout-free first inning that gobbled up 39 offerings on his pitch count, got back in the game on Yoan Moncada’s three-run home run against Cal Quantrill in the third and AJ Pollock’s RBI single in the fourth.

“The score tells you all you need to know,” Lynn said. “If you give up eight runs, you’re horse[bleep].”

Lynn (1-2, 6.97 ERA) pitched a perfect second and third but had to work out of a jam in the fourth inning, then gave up two more runs in the fifth on Nolan Jones’ double, the second run scoring when second baseman Leury Garcia’s relay throw bounced through catcher Seby Zavala.

It was Lynn’s 100th pitch, and he was running low on fuel after that labor-intensive first, as well as the fourth.

“We have two games [Tuesday], and, to be honest, I have to get through six innings,” Lynn said. “I let the team down.”

Franmil Reyes led off the fifth with a single and Lynn hit Andres Gimenez to open the inning. Manager Tony La Russa allowed Lynn to face Jones for the third time, and Jones lined a 110 mph rocket to the right-center-field gap, the hardest-hit ball of the night.

“Watched him in the fourth when he had first and third, got the heart of the lineup out,” La Russa said. “We checked him, and he said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ ’’

Myles Straw’s comebacker off reliever Matt Foster caromed into right field and scored Jones to make it 8-4.

The young Guardians (42-42), losers of eight of their previous 10 games and a team that’s not expected to contend in the division, beat the Sox for the fifth time in six games. The Sox have three more against Cleveland and four against the Twins going into next week’s All-Star break. After the break, they have another four against Cleveland at home.

It seems whenever the Sox string together a couple of wins or enjoy an important victory, they can’t follow up with a meaningful streak.

Lynn allowed eight runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. The first three singles allowed were at exit velocities of 83.6, 68 and 92 mph.

“That’s part of the game,” Lynn said. “When you give up five runs with two outs, that hurts. But I have to be better early on. There’s no other way to put it. Make better pitches, get in better counts, and when I do, put people away.”

NOTE: Dylan Cease, on not being selected for the All-Star team despite having the fifth-lowest ERA among American League starters and second-best strikeout rate: “You can only just pitch better, play better. I can make a good case with some of my numbers, but it’s out of my hands, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. But it’s a little bit disappointing.”

Cease will pitch the second game of the day-night doubleheader Tuesday and is lined up for Sunday at Minnesota. Davis Martin will be called up to pitch the day game.

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