EditorsNote: Fixes inning count (6 1/3) in sixth graf
Lance Lynn matched his season high for strikeouts, and the Texas Rangers opened the second half with a 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Lynn (12-4) improved to 6-0 over his last eight starts by handcuffing the Astros for seven innings. He recorded 11 strikeouts — all on the four-seam fastball — while allowing just six hits and two walks. Lynn surrendered only one extra-base hit, and that came with two outs in the seventh when Astros center fielder George Springer roped a double to the gap in left-center field.
The Astros mustered one legitimate threat against Lynn, pushing runners to second and third in the second inning when Texas catcher Jeff Mathis was cited for a passed ball with Robinson Chirinos at the plate and the Rangers leading 4-0. Lynn rallied to strike out Chirinos on a 97 mph fastball, stranding Yordan Alvarez and Josh Reddick in scoring position.
After striking out Alvarez with two runners on to close the third, Lynn cruised, allowing solo baserunners in the fourth and fifth before leaving Springer at second in the seventh. Lynn posted 21 called strikes, 13 on his fastball. He averaged 95 mph on 70 four-seamers.
The Rangers provided Lynn an early cushion by tagging Astros left-hander Framber Valdez (3-5) with four runs in the first.
Valdez, making his first start since June 26, maintained the trajectory of final two outings before he was demoted to Triple-A Round Rock. He posted a 15.63 ERA over 6 1/3 innings against the Yankees and Pirates and allowed more doubles (three) than he recorded outs (two) while surrendering four hits and three walks against the Rangers.
Joey Gallo doubled and plated Delino DeShields, who also doubled, before scoring when Rougned Odor added a two-run double that also drove home Danny Santana. Odor doubled and scored in the third, coming home when Mathis singled to left off Astros reliever Cy Sneed.
Odor and Shin-Soo Choo posted multi-hit games for the Rangers.
Astros shortstop Alex Bregman departed in the third inning after taking a bad-hop grounder hit by Choo off the chin.
—Field Level Media