KANSAS CITY -- Lance Lynn didn’t get off to a great start. But beginning with the third hitter he faced on Thursday afternoon, the Rangers right-hander found a groove and never wavered.
After Lynn surrendered a leadoff single to Whit Merrifield and a double to Nicky Lopez, he recorded his first out on Adalberto Mondesi’s sacrifice fly. After that, the Royals’ offense had nothing and the Rangers’ offense had plenty. Texas soared past Kansas City with a five-run fifth and Lynn wound up equaling his season high with a seven-inning stint that required just 91 pitches as the Rangers rolled to a 16-1 victory.
“The game was in doubt early, so we needed those zeros before we got our offense going,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Lance is a warrior, man. He’s a bulldog. He has been doing a really good job of mixing up his pitches, and it’s fun to watch.”
Lynn was coming off a strong start his last time out in Houston, when he got no offensive support. This time, he had support galore.
Lynn leads the Rangers’ staff in wins with five (5-3).
“I’m in a good spot mechanically right now,” Lynn said.
Lynn picked up a win on May 4 against Toronto, but he gave up five runs in six innings in that game. He feels there has been improvement in his last two starts.
“I made some adjustments coming out of that Toronto game,” Lynn said. “The last two games, I’ve been right where I wanted [to be]. I’ve had command on both sides of the plate with all four of my pitches.”
Lynn could likely have gone longer, but the Rangers had a big lead and he was coming off an outing when he threw 118 pitches.
Once the offense cranked it up in the fifth, the Rangers’ runs came fast and furious.
Joey Gallo tied the game in the fourth with an opposite-field solo homer. That homer came on a 43-degree launch angle, the second highest of his career. Gallo, who had a career-high four hits, homered on a 44-degree launch angle in 2017.
Texas then took advantage of some aggressive baserunning and porous defense by Kansas City to surge to a comfortable lead in the fifth. Willie Calhoun sparkled for the second consecutive game since arriving from Triple A-Nashville. Calhoun finished with a career-high four hits and he homered for the second day in a row. Rougned Odor was also prominent with two homers, the 10th multihomer game of his career.
Danny Santana batted leadoff and also had a four-hit day. The Royals had to finish the game with position player Chris Owings on the mound.
Saddled with a five-game losing streak after Tuesday’s loss to the Royals, the Rangers (19-22) steadied the ship by winning the last two games of a tough road trip.
“We were hurting, so getting these last two wins was big going home,” Lynn said. “For me, I’m always looking to either make the good keep going or stop the bad. It was just good to end the trip the way we did.”