But the postgame explanation from Lynn, one of the most entertaining quotes in the game this season, did not disappoint. It centered on the umpires’ promptness, or lack thereof in his opinion, in doing the foreign substance check following the third out.
“I was coming off the mound and he was late getting over, so I left my glove and my hat,” Lynn said. “And then while I was going down [to] the dugout to try [to] see the trainer because I’m dealing with something, he yells at me that he needs to see my belt. So I tossed it up and he throws me out.”
Third-base umpire Nic Lentz ejected Lynn, the first ejection of his Major League career. But it was not something he expected.
“No, he’s late getting over there. I’m trying to get some work done to go back out for the fifth and, obviously, I hurt his feelings,” Lynn said. “He threw me out because I tossed my belt. I said, ‘Well if you were over there on time we wouldn’t have this problem.’ I’m already in the dugout.”
Lynn had allowed just one run over four innings on a Seth Brown homer in the fourth, but needed 88 pitches to handle that workload. He pitched out of a second-and-third, nobody-out jam in the first and did the same with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third. The right-hander threw 31 pitches in the first inning alone and was at 73 pitches through three.
In that first-inning escape act, Lynn struck out Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie and retired Josh Harrison on a groundout. In the third, Lowrie and Harrison struck out and Matt Chapman popped out to shortstop Tim Anderson.
Manager Tony La Russa called Lynn’s work amazing, adding in his postgame Zoom session that it was something he wrote on his card in the dugout.
“Look at the guys he got out to avoid it,” La Russa said. “He is just never going to quit competing. No matter what the odds are, no matter what the situation is. He just competes, competes and he's got a lot to compete with.
“Those were really quality hitters. He just made great pitches and he made them late in the count, too, which is even more impressive."
When asked about his overall feeling for the night, Lynn didn’t choose amazing in his assessment.
“I felt completely miserable, but when you get out of that and only give up one run and we win, that’s what it’s all about,” Lynn added. “I wish I could have gone deeper, but I didn’t get that opportunity. It was taken from me. I’m going to get myself ready for the next one.”
As for that miserable feeling, it apparently came from both the fight on the mound and whatever malady was affecting him during the game.
“Yeah, every bit of it,” said Lynn, adding, “See you in five days” when questioned if the injury was something minor.
Garrett Crochet (3-5) replaced Lynn in the fifth, beginning five innings of scoreless relief from the Sox bullpen. Liam Hendriks picked up his second save in three days and 28th of the season against the team he closed for in 2020 by working 1 2/3 innings. Craig Kimbrel’s grandfather passed away and he will not be back until Thursday’s day game.
Luis Robert topped the offense with three hits and two RBIs, raising his average to .429 with hits in six of seven games since he returned from the right hip flexor tear.
“Honestly, you never know how you’re going to produce when you come back,” said Robert through interpreter Billy Russo. “You’re hoping to do your best, but you don’t know. You don’t have that certainty. Honestly, I’m feeling kind of the same way I was feeling right before the injury happened.”
The White Sox (71-50) dropped their magic number to clinch the American League Central to 31 and raised their lead to 12 games with a third straight win over Oakland (68-53). But Lynn was the talk of this contest, and not solely for his great mound work.
“He threw the belt. As soon as he threw the belt, you can't make a gesture like that,” La Russa said. “That's when he was gone. The umpire banged him right away. I went out there to try to save it, but that's what got him ejected.
“My only point when I was out there was if you're not emotional in this game, you're not very good. And he was emotional.”