SAN FRANCISCO — Leury Garcia drove in the game’s only run with a two-strike, two-out single in the ninth inning, lifting the White Sox to a 1-0 victory over the Giants on Friday night.
Lance Lynn pitched six scoreless innings in his best start of the season, and Joe Kelly, Tanner Banks and Kendall Graveman finished the job, with Graveman notching his fourth save as the Sox took the first game of a three-game series at Oracle Park.
The struggling Garcia, who went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .200, lined a 2-2 pitch from Camilo Doval to right field with two outs, scoring pinch runner Adam Haseley. Gavin Sheets had reached first on Doval’s error covering first and advanced to second on AJ Pollock’s single. Haseley, pinch-running for Sheets, scored from second, beating right fielder Mike Yastrzemski’s throw.
“Everybody knows the guy is a pretty good pitcher, with good stuff, just trying to put the ball in play and drive the run in,” Garcia said.
“I’ve been feeling good the last two weeks. I haven’t always had the result that I want but tonight it came in the ninth inning. My mindset is always get a hit.”
Manager Tony La Russa has stood by Garcia despite his struggles and was questioned for not pinch hitting for him during a key moment in the Sox’ 4-1 loss to the Angels Wednesday.
“He’s been better lately, you just have to watch,” La Russa said. “Watch his at-bats the last two weeks. Not like they were earlier. He’s getting closer and closer. He’s a big-time player. He had a big time hit against a bit-time arm out there. He’s special. That was huge for us. Great win.”
Lynn held the Giants to three hits while walking two. He struck out five, including Tommy La Stella to work out of a bases loaded fix in the first and Mike Yastrzemski with his last pitch — with a runner on first.
Lynn caused concern in the third when Joc Pederson called time as he was starting his windup. Lynn halted his motion and felt some apparent discomfort, prompting a visit from training staff. After taking a warmup toss, he retired 11 of the last 13 Giants he faced.
It was easily the best start of Lynn’s four outings since coming back from knee surgery. He lowered his ERA from 6.19 to 4.50.
Giants right-hander Alex Cobb pitched five scoreless innings, not allowing a hit until Jose Abreu’s infield single to deep shortstop with two outs in the fourth.
The Sox batted .281/.336/.406 and averaged 5.07 runs per game in June, third-best in the American League, but they welcomed in July with a listless attack against Cobb and x relievers. The Sox were in dire need of stringing together wins and taking series in July after going 8-12 in April, 15-12 in May and 12-15 in June.
Kelly pitched a scoreless seventh and lefty Tanner Banks a scoreless eighth.
The Sox (36-39) had lost six of their previous eight games.