– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
ARLINGTON, Texas — Every day that Lance Lynn takes the mound for the Texas Rangers ends up turning into Groundhog Day, as all the team’s “Mr. Reliable” has done almost every fifth day is eat up innings while giving the Rangers a glorious chance to come away with a victory. Exactly six months removed from (and six months until) the actual Groundhog Day, Lynn was at it once more, extending one of the more impressive streaks going in baseball this season.
Lynn went seven innings and allowed just one run while Danny Santana, Elvis Andrus and Hunter Pence each had two hits from the middle of the order in the Rangers’ 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The win pushed the Rangers over the .500 mark at 55-54.
For the 18th time in a row, Lynn went at least six innings and, for the 14th consecutive time, he threw at least 100 pitches as he allowed just four hits over seven frames while striking out 10 Tigers hitters.
Of those last 18 starts, Lynn has delivered a quality start (six or more innings while allowing three or fewer runs) on 14 occasions as he improved his 2019 record to 14-6.
The Rangers rebounded quickly after Lynn allowed three hits, including a run-scoring single by Harold Castro, in the first inning, as a two-out RBI single by Pence tied the score at 1-1 at the end of the first inning.
Santana hit a sacrifice fly to score Jeff Mathis to give the Rangers the lead in the third before Rougned Odor hit a solo home run off the right field foul pole to give Texas a 3-1 advantage after four innings. On the mound, Lynn was on cruise control, not allowing a hit to Detroit between the second and sixth innings.
Jose Leclerc came on to pitch the ninth for the Rangers and earned his sixth save of the season and first since April 17 — but it was far from routine. With the Rangers holding a 5-2 lead to begin the frame, Leclerc walked leadoff hitter Travis Demeritte before retiring the next two hitters. JaCoby Jones and Niko Goodrum each followed with singles, with the latter scoring Demeritte to cut the Rangers lead to 5-3.
Pinch-hitter Brandon Dixon walked to load the bases before Leclerc threw a wild pitch to score Jones and put the game-tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. The threat was officially extinguished when Jeimer Candelario grounded out to Santana at first, with Leclerc covering at the bag to record the final out. Afterward, Leclerc threw the ball into the right field bleachers in frustration while the celebrations were underway.
Tigers starter Tyler Alexander, who pitched his college baseball at nearby TCU in Fort Worth, allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four. Both Demeritte, a first-round pick of the Rangers in 2013, and Rangers center fielder Scott Heineman made their Major League debuts tonight and recorded their first Major League hits, with Heineman going 2-for-4.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are XX pictures in total.