Texas Rangers

Lance Lynn was good, but Justin Verlander was masterful as Astros beat Rangers

Lance Lynn was a tough-luck loser to Justin Verlander Friday in Houston

Texas Rangers starter Lance Lynn held the Houston Astros to threw runs over seven innings but Justin Verlander was better.
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Texas Rangers starter Lance Lynn held the Houston Astros to threw runs over seven innings but Justin Verlander was better.

Lance Lynn pitched well, but Justin Verlander was masterful.

The Houston Astros ace flummoxed the Texas Rangers’ lineup for seven innings Friday night, allowing just four base runners, including one hit, to beat the Rangers 3-0 at Minute Maid Park.

Verlander improved to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.51.

“Verlander does a really good job of mixing up his pitches and has elite stuff. So many weapons,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He has command of all his pitches, he throws his slider off his fastball and can throw his curve at any time. He doesn’t give you much to hit.”

He didn’t allow a hit until Asdrubal Cabrera’s lead-off single in the fifth. But he quickly erased that small blemish with a strikeout looking and an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. He was briefly in trouble in the fourth after a two-out walk to Hunter Pence. He hit Nomar Mazara to put two on, but he got Rougned Odor to fly out to center to end the threat.

Verlander struck out eight and passed Frank Tanana for 22nd all-time with 2,774 career strikeouts.

The Astros scored their three runs on three solo home runs.

Jake Marisnick led off the third with a homer to right-center field to give Houston a 1-0 lead. Lynn, however, retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced. He had two outs in the seventh before Yuli Gurriel and Robinson Chirinos connected for back-to-back homers to push the Astros’ lead to 3-0.

“You kind of have a feeling it’s going to be one of those games. Lance was throwing the ball well and thankfully our boys were able to get to him in the seventh,” Verlander said. “It’s hard to pitch against this [Astros] lineup three or four times through.”

Lynn was charged with three runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out eight.

“You have to match Verlander, especially you saw early he was going good so you knew you had to make pitches and try to keep them off the board,” said Lynn, who dropped to 4-3. “I was able to keep them down for the most part until that last inning, two pitches I’d like back, well, one really.”

Lynn said the pitch to Chirinos was reasonably executed.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward was pleased with Lance Lynn's start Friday night in which he held the Astros to three runs over seven innings.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.