DETROIT — Lance Lynn got better as he went along in his first start of the season.
He also got better after an animated exchange in the dugout with third base coach Joe McEwing after his second inning of work.
“He was trying to get me going,” said Lynn, downplaying the argument that likely was about defensive shifts and alignments during the White Sox’ 9-5 win over the Tigers Monday at Comerica Park. “He kept telling me that filet is better than ribeye. I’m more of a ribeye and potatoes guy. He’s a filet and like, Caesar salad. I just told him he was wrong, and then he went back to coaching third.”
Lynn was his usual feisty, noisy self on the mound, but he got off to a bad start, allowing a homer to Willi Castro on his first pitch. Two singles followed, and the Tigers got five more against him the first time through the lineup — all base hits.
“Early on you’re trying to feel some things out and they jumped me pretty soon,” Lynn said. “First pitch of the game. I figured they would. Would have been nice to make more of a quality pitch there. You start giving up some hits, but I was able to turn the tide and make some pitches.
“Just trusting it, getting into a rhythm of the game.”
Lynn threw 88 pitches. He gave up two runs in the first and one in the second, then held the Tigers scoreless through the rest of his 4 1/3 innings of work. He gave up 10 hits, walked none and struck out four. After Harold Castro’s two-out single in the eighth dropped in shallow center field in front of Luis Robert to score the Tigers third run, Lynn put his hands on his knees and hung his head. He then struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the inning.
McEwing threw his hands up during the exchange and Lynn was pointing at McEwing and toward the field.
Manager Tony La Russa also downplayed the back-and-forth.
“He was mad at himself because he made a horse manure pitch,” La Russa said.
“He’s not going to blame a coach. You talk about accountability. He’s one of the best.”
Lynn, who went 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA last season, began the season on the 15-day injured list after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right knee tendon suffered during a spring training start on April 1 at Arizona.
“There are times when you feel good and times when you think you’re good and it starts barking again. That’s going to be the course of the season, to be honest, as the innings mount but we have a good idea how to make sure it where it needs to be and how we can stay strong.”
The Sox, with a worn down bullpen, used Kyle Crick, Bennett Sousa, Tanner Banks and Kendall Graveman in relief of Lynn, the latter three pitching scoreless ball. Liam Hendriks (arm stiffness) was not available.
Abreu hit a pair of two-run homers, the second above the hedges beyond the center field fence in the ninth, and Luis Robert singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning as the Sox cranked out 15 hits.
“He put on a heck of an exhibition,” La Russa said of Abreu.
The Sox got two gift runs when pitcher Andrew Chafin fielded Reese McGuire’s sacrifice bunt and threw wide of third base, allowing two runs to score giving the Sox a 6-3 lead.
“Terrible throw,” Chafin said.
Leury Garcia and Abreu each had three hits and Robert, Andrew Vaughn and AJ Pollock each had two.