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