The game plan called for Lance Lynn to spend his first full season in the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen. Instead, the young right-hander has emerged as one of the game's best pitchers of any age.
The 25-year-old Lynn struck out a career-high 12 despite back tightness to stay tied for the major league lead in wins, and Carlos Beltran hit his NL-best 19th home run Wednesday night to send the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox that ended Chicago's eight-game road winning streak.
"Every time I go out there I think like it's 0-0, whatever inning it is and whoever's up. You don't want to give up a hit ever, or a run ever," Lynn said after outdueling Jake Peavy. "I was able to keep them off the board."
Paul Konerko grounded into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third against Jason Motte.
"I knew they had it," Lynn said. "It was a little interesting, but it was fun."
Motte pounded Konerko inside before the cleanup man hit a bouncer to third.
Beltran homered in the third inning off Peavy (6-2) and had three of the four hits for the Cardinals, who have scored only seven runs in the last five games and totaled a single run for the third straight game. They've won just five of 14.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he almost scratched Beltran, who has been bothered by stomach issues, before the game.
"Mike wanted to take me out of the lineup and I said yesterday I played like that, and I was fine," Beltran said. "Today was good."
Lynn (10-2) allowed three hits in 7 1-3 innings and joined Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as the only 10-game winners in the majors. Dickey threw a one-hitter at Tampa Bay earlier in the night.
Lynn replaced injured Chris Carpenter in the rotation.
He topped his previous career best of 11 strikeouts while going six innings during his last start at Houston.
Beltran has been a force batting second, hitting 11 homers from that spot in 20 starts compared with seven long balls at cleanup in 32 games.
All but five of his homers have come batting left-handed, and 11 have come with the bases empty.