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Rangers avoid sweep with homer barrage

Calhoun hits 2 of Texas' 5 long balls; Choo launches one 461 feet
@Sullivan_Ranger
September 22, 2019

OAKLAND -- The Rangers broke out the long ball on Sunday afternoon to snap their seven-game losing streak, help starter Lance Lynn get his first win since Aug. 2 and delay the Athletics’ march to an American League Wild Card spot. The Rangers hit five home runs, including two by

OAKLAND -- The Rangers broke out the long ball on Sunday afternoon to snap their seven-game losing streak, help starter Lance Lynn get his first win since Aug. 2 and delay the Athletics’ march to an American League Wild Card spot.

The Rangers hit five home runs, including two by Willie Calhoun, and Lynn held the Athletics to two runs in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-3 victory in their final road game of the season at Oakland Coliseum. The Rangers finished 33-48 on the road for the second straight year, their worst since going 28-53 in 2007.

“We needed that one,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Walking around the clubhouse and talking to guys, I didn’t sense anybody with their heads down. They were just maybe frustrated because nobody likes losing and they were like, ‘What do we have to do to win a game?’”

Box score

Lynn allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out 12 while reaching the 200-inning mark (201) for the first time since 2014. He has 236 strikeouts on the season, the third most in Rangers history. Nolan Ryan struck out 301 in 1989 and Yu Darvish had 277 in 2013. With 58 walks, Lynn has 4.07 strikeouts per walk, the fourth-highest ratio in club history.

“That’s all cool, but I’m not playing in October, so it doesn’t matter,” Lynn said.

Lynn was 0-5 with a 3.97 ERA in his previous eight starts. The Rangers lost all eight of those game after going 15-8 when Lynn was on the mound for his first 23 starts. He is 15-11 with a 3.76 ERA overall in 32 starts.

“It was a good win, especially after a long road trip,” Lynn said. “When you have a young team, or guys trying to figure out if they are capable of playing at a high level, you have to play like that against playoff-caliber teams. We got slapped around the whole road trip until today, so it was a good bounceback. I know we play some good teams when we go home, so hopefully we can finish strong.”

The Rangers’ five home runs -- including three in the first inning off A’s starter Tanner Roark -- tied their season high. They’ve done it four times overall, with the last time coming on July 12 against the Astros.

Calhoun’s two home runs give him 20 for the season in 290 at-bats. That’s 14.5 at-bats per home run. Calhoun doesn’t have enough at-bats to be listed among the AL leaders, but as of Sunday morning, 14.5 would be ninth best behind Alex Bregman of the Astros, who has 13.97 at-bats per home run.

“I was just able to get a couple of pitches to hit, and I didn't miss them,” Calhoun said. “I have been hitting the ball pretty good and not getting any results, so it felt good to get some today. One home run is always good, but to get two felt really good."

Shin-Soo Choo started the Rangers’ home run barrage by hitting the first pitch of the game from Roark and sending it into the bleachers high above center field. Statcast projected it at 461 feet, Choo’s longest since Statcast began in 2015.

“I hit it far, sometimes,” Choo said. “It surprised me, too. I hit good, but I wasn't expecting the ball to go that far, especially to center field and the upper deck. I thought it would hit somewhere in that green area. It was a pretty clean swing. I was looking for that pitch. I had my ‘A’ swing.”

One out later, Calhoun cleared the wall in right field and Elvis Andrus wrapped up the Rangers’ first-inning rally with a two-out, two-run home run to left. Andrus has 12 home runs this season and 38 over the past three years. He had just 35 in his first eight seasons in the Major Leagues.

Calhoun hit his second home run in the third inning off Roark and Nomar Mazara went deep off Ryan Buchter in the fifth. Mazara has 19 home runs and needs one to hit exactly 20 for the fourth straight season.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.