Lance Lynn gets hit hard as the Chicago White Sox drop Game 1 of the ALDS with a 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros

By LaMond Pope

HOUSTON — The Chicago White Sox acquired Lance Lynn in an offseason trade with the Texas Rangers for a situation like Thursday: a big game in a hostile environment against a team loaded with talent.

But the Cy Young Award candidate couldn’t get out of the fourth inning as the Sox suffered a 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in front of 40,497 at Minute Maid Park.

Lynn allowed five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 3⅔ innings as the Sox fell into a hole in the best-of-five series. Game 2 is Friday in Houston (1:07 p.m., MLBN).

While Lynn struggled, Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. was locked in. He allowed four hits, struck out four and hit one batter in 6⅔ innings.

The Sox’s first hit came in the fourth — a one-out single by Yoán Moncada — but by that time the Sox were already down three runs.

Leadoff walks led to Houston’s first two runs. Lynn walked Yordan Alvarez to begin the second. Alvarez advanced to second on a Carlos Correa single and moved to third when Kyle Tucker flied out to center.

Jake Meyers followed with a two-out single to right and Alvarez scored to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Lynn waked José Altuve to start the third. He moved to second on a bunt and third on a wild pitch. Alex Bregman hit a grounder to third and Altuve beat Moncada’s throw to the plate, making it 2-0. Alvarez followed with an RBI double.

The Astros put the game out of reach in the fourth with a two-out, two-run single by Michael Brantley. That was the last batter of the day for Lynn.

Alvarez hit a solo homer off reliever Reynaldo López in the fifth.

The Sox were looking to get a boost offensively after José Abreu was cleared to play despite the 2020 AL MVP battling flu-like symptoms in recent days. The Sox said Wednesday that multiple tests confirmed the illness is not COVID-19-related.

Abreu batted third and served as the designated hitter. He went 2-for-4 with one RBI, singling in the seventh and eighth.

Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez also singled in the seventh, but the Sox came up empty.

Tim Anderson singled in the eighth against reliever Kendall Graveman and scored on Abreu’s two-out single.

McCullers had two strong starts against the Sox in the regular season, allowing three runs on four hits with 14 strikeouts in 13 innings.

He was just as sharp Thursday, which meant trouble and a series deficit for the Sox.

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