Lance Lynn struck out a season-high 11 Tuesday night
Lance Lynn had a season-high 11 strikeouts and improved to 6-3 after allowing two runs over seven innings.
Both Seattle runs came in the seventh after the first three batters reached on a walk and two singles. Manager Chris Woodward visited with Lynn on the mound after Omar Narvaez just missed a home run off the wall in right.
Lynn, however, wasn’t budging.
“No, that was my inning to finish, and I think if you ask Woody, he knew it,” said Lynn, who had his sixth quality start of the season to match Mike Minor for the team lead. “We were getting down to the bottom of the lineup, and I wanted to clean up my mess there.”
Lynn threw 120 pitches, the most by a Rangers’ pitcher since Yu Darvish threw 125 on April 29, 2017. Lynn had thrown as much as 118 pitches in a game this season on May 10 in Houston.
“If he’d told me I was going back out for the eighth, I would have done it,” he said. “That’s just who I am and how I was brought up. If you feel like you can do it, you go do it for as long as you can, and give it everything you’ve got.”
Lynn has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers so far this season and has become the obvious No. 2 starter behind Minor.
“I didn’t want him to throw 120 pitches. Those kind of guys in baseball are rare to find. He’s getting an extra day so that led me to leave him in there a little longer than normal,” Woodward said. “But he is a guy we count on to go out there and compete like that.”
After the mound visit, Lynn retired the next three batters, including the last two with strikeouts.
Minor’s 11 strikeouts on Monday and Lynn’s 11 strikeouts Tuesday is the first time Rangers pitchers have struck out 10 or more batters in consecutive games since Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando did it in April 2-3, 2013 in Houston.
Three reactions from Tuesday’s 5-3 win:
1. Willie’s quad — Willie Calhoun left the game in the seventh with a strained left quad. He’ll have an MRI Wednesday morning. Calhoun felt the tightness when he hit the bag on a groundout in the sixth inning.
“He felt it tighten up on him,” Woodward said. “We are obviously going to re-evaluate him in the morning. If it is an actual strain, it could possibly be a DL. Hopefully it’s not. Hopefully the MRI shows nothing and we can move on.”
2. Speedy Mazara — Nomar Mazara stole third base for the first time in his career in the fourth inning. It’s only the fourth stolen base in his career. He was 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI.
The stolen base has been on Mazara’s mind, he said. Teams have paid little attention to him and with the Mariners in a shift he felt the time was right.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while. That was the perfect moment to do it because they were in a shift,” Mazara said. “Sometimes the guy isn’t really paying attention. They know I don’t steal bases. I looked at [third base coach Tony] Beasley and I gave him the sign that I was going and he was like, ‘Yeah, go for it.’”
It turned out to be big, too. The Rangers were leading 1-0 at the time and Mazara later scored on Asdrubal Cabera’s sacrifice fly to push the lead to 2-0.
“It was still a close game,” he said. “I took my chances.”
3. Leclerc rising — Jose Leclerc continues to impress out of the closer roll. He pitched a perfect eight with a strikeout to collect his third hold of the season. He has retired all 16 batters he’s faced in his past four appearances. He has 11 strikeouts in the stretch of 5 1/3 innings.
Shawn Kelley, who returned from the injured list before the game, earned his third save, despite allowing a solo homer in the ninth.