Lynn in ‘cruise control’ in 11-K shutout of Royals

CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox hurler Lance Lynn became the first pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout this season, stymieing the Kansas City Royals 6-0 in the White Sox’s home opener on Thursday.

“It’s awesome to get the first one, but it’s behind me,” Lynn said after the game. “They scored some runs, so I was able to hit cruise control. I was glad I was able to do it at home. That was the most exciting part of all of it.”

Lynn, who threw 111 pitches, is the third pitcher in franchise history to strike out at least 11 hitters without issuing a walk in a shutout. He gave up five hits, with just two Royals reaching as far as second base. Lynn was asked if his pregame bullpen session gave him a hint he’d have a big night.

“Was the typical ‘felt terrible, had success’ situation,” Lynn said with a smirk. “As the game went on, with rain showers and stuff, we were able to get through some things. Once the pitch count started to build up, I started to get loose and everything felt good.”

Lynn’s feat barely overshadowed another good night at the plate for rookie Yermin Mercedes, who homered and singled in four at-bats. He’s hitting .556 with five extra base hits on the young season.

The Sox came out swinging after a rain delay that lasted 2 hours, 12 minutes. Yoan Moncada and Mercedes hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to give Lynn an early lead and the ability to settle in right away.

Lynn is no stranger to throwing 100 pitches in a game, having done it a major league-high 45 times over the past three seasons. The only tough part came during that rain delay.

“It was extremely boring,” Lynn said. “There are no couches to sit on and you have to wear your mask the whole time. I sat in my locker, away from everyone, socially distanced.”

Lynn was an offseason acquisition from the Texas Rangers, sliding into the third slot in the rotation. After a high pitch count knocked him out after just 4⅔ innings in his first start of the season, he was able to last the distance in start No. 2.

“From the first pitch on, he was just nails,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He had control of all his pitches. He was deceptive and his ball had life.”

The win evened the White Sox’s record at 4-4.

Before the game Chicago placed outfielder Billy Hamilton on the injured list with a hamstring injury.

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