The Texas Rangers were scuffling for the first time in more than a month and had lost four consecutive games for the first time since being swept by the Astros in Houston in early May.
A couple of losses in Tampa Bay took the shine out of their recent road trip, and the short, four-game homestand against the Los Angeles this week took a dark turn when Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake hotel room before Monday’s series opener.
That game was postponed to a later date, and the Angels regrouped with heavy hearts to win the first two games of the series. Thursday’s finale had all the makings of an Angels’ sweep, especially when Mike Trout hit his third home run in two games in the first inning.
But Lance Lynn didn’t back down and instead pitched seven, defiant innings as the Rangers salvaged the series finale with a 9-3 win at a sold out Globe Life Park.
Rougned Odor hit two home runs and drove in five RBIs to pace the offense. Odor had struck out in his five previous at-bats, including in the second inning Thursday before his two-run homer in the fourth. He stretched Texas’ lead to 9-2 with a three-run homer in the seventh.
Odor has 12 homers and 43 RBIs this season in what has so far been a dreadful offensive year for the second baseman. He lifted his batting average to .191 with 2-for-4 night in the win.
“He needed that for sure. He’s working hard. He’s trying to figure things out,” said Nomar Mazara, who matched a career high with four hits, including two doubles. “This game is not easy. You’ve got guys out there throwing nasty stuff. For him to have a game like that, gives him a little breath. Hopefully he can continue to do this and get to the break and figure stuff out and come back and have a great second half.”
Lynn allowed nine hits, but eight of them were singles. He walked none and struck out five over 115 pitches to improve to 11-4 and lower his ERA to under 4.00. He dismissed manager Chris Woodward with two outs and two on with Shohei Otani at the plate before getting a fly out to end the threat.
“He’s a bulldog. He saw Woody come out of the dugout and he was like, ‘No, I’m not coming out of the game,’” Mazara said. “When you got a guy like that and the pitch count doesn’t matter and he’s just trying to get out of the inning it means a lot. Woody walked back laughing like this guy is crazy. When you’ve got a guy like that on the mound it makes everything easier.”
Odor said Lynn’s competitiveness on the mound pushed him to have better at-bats.
“When you have a guy like Lance Lynn pitching you always battle, always give 100 percent,” said Odor, who had his second multi-homer game of 2019. “He pushes us to play better.”
If Odor is showing signs of breaking out of a season-long slump, it bodes well for the Rangers’ offense.
“I feel like he has been a click away for awhile but he just didn’t have the results,” Woodward said. It’s really nice for him to get some results tonight.”
The Rangers begin a three-game series Friday against the Twins in Minnesota before the All-Star break.
Texas resumes play after the break with a four-game series against the Astros on July 11 in Arlington.