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Rangers’ impeccable defense aids Lynn

June 23, 2019

ARLINGTON -- After a rocky first inning abruptly ended his streak of eight consecutive quality starts, Rangers starter Lance Lynn needed all the help he could get Saturday night against the White Sox. And he got it -- from a defense that made several flashy plays behind him, to an

ARLINGTON -- After a rocky first inning abruptly ended his streak of eight consecutive quality starts, Rangers starter Lance Lynn needed all the help he could get Saturday night against the White Sox. And he got it -- from a defense that made several flashy plays behind him, to an offense that mounted a sixth-inning comeback to make Lynn the winning pitcher in a 6-5 victory.

“They were awesome all the way through,” Lynn said. “They picked me up huge tonight.”

Box score

Lynn tossed seven innings and was tough on Chicago hitters after a four-run, four-hit first inning. He allowed only two hits, including a Tim Anderson sixth-inning solo shot, after the first inning, retiring 18 of the last 20 batters he faced.

Six of those outs came from dazzling defense. In the second inning, shortstop Elvis Andrus ranged into the outfield grass to his right and threw from his knees to get the third out, stranding a runner on third.

The entire top of the third was a defensive display for Texas. Andrus ran a long way into left field to catch a fly ball over his head, second baseman Logan Forsythe gloved a nasty hop on a grounder and right fielder Nomar Mazara made a sliding catch near the wall in foul territory.

Andrus’ defense helped again in the seventh after the Rangers took a 6-5 lead. Playing to the right of second base in a shift, Andrus ranged far towards first base to field a grounder that he glove-flipped to first for the first out.

After that nifty play, left fielder Willie Calhoun ran to the wall down the left-field line to catch a foul ball. Lynn then got another, more garden-variety ground out to Andrus to end his night after seven innings.

“Elvis made a couple of really good plays, the ball in the hole that saved a run. … The one in the shift, I thought was pretty special because you don’t see too many guys get that far over from that position, and being able to glove it that way, usually it’s the second baseman coming in and doing that,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Really heads-up [play] with [Mazara] down the line, people don’t understand how difficult that is when that wall’s coming in on you like that. And Logan up the middle, I don’t know how he caught it. Especially for not really playing second base a whole lot.

“All night, I felt like we made really good defensive plays,” Woodward said.

With the Rangers’ defense firmly behind him, Lynn allowed five earned runs on six hits and one walk. He struck out six.

“Nothing he does surprises me,” Woodward said of Lynn. “His competitiveness, no matter what the circumstances, it’s awesome for all of our guys to watch, for our entire organization to watch. Because you get down 4-0 like that, he’s one strike away from getting out of the first inning with no runs. … A lot of guys kind of fold up at that point, they kind of just give in. He had 40-something pitches after two and somehow he ends up going seven and gets the win.”

Lynn pitched his last inning with the lead after Shin-Soo Choo tapped a single past second base to tie the game at 5; Delino DeShields drove home what would be the winning run with another bouncer up the middle.

Mazara drove in three early runs with more tape-measure homers. He followed his record-distance, 505-foot homer from Friday with a 430-foot, first-inning blast to the same section in the right-field upper deck, and a 405-foot homer in the third inning.

“I’ve been swinging the bat really well now,” Mazara said. “Every time I make contact for a homer, it’s going to go pretty hard and a pretty long way because I don’t have many cheap homers.”

Guzman exits with heel soreness

First baseman Ronald Guzmán was pulled from the game at the start of the ninth inning after tweaking a nagging heel problem while trying to run out a grounder.

“He’s been dealing with a little heel soreness,” Woodward said. “When he stepped on first, he jammed his heel again. … I just felt like with one half-inning left, hopefully we get three outs. I didn’t want him to hurt himself any more, but also not be able to run after it.”