By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lance Lynn gave the Texas Rangers another workhorse start, and helped them get their first win in more than a week after initially surrendering their first lead in five games.
Lynn struck out eight while throwing 105 pitches in six innings, and Isiah-Kiner Falefa hit a tiebreaking homer in the second to put the Rangers ahead to stay as they ended their eight-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the American League-leading Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
“It was huge, especially after a losing streak and then what we’ve got going on with the teams coming in,” Lynn said. “We’ve got to get on a little roll here or we’ll get ourselves in some really big trouble.”
The skid by the Rangers (11-17), which was the longest in the majors, had come right after they got a game over .500. After the A’s series, they host the the majors-best Los Angeles Dodgers and then go to Houston.
Kiner-Falefa, the primary shortstop with Elvis Andrus on the injured list, hit a solo shot in the second inning off Jesus Luzardo (2-1), snapping a 2-2 tie to put the Rangers ahead to stay
The Rangers had led for only one of the 74 innings they played during their losing streak — in the second inning last Wednesday at San Diego. They trailed after 67 of those innings.
“Yeah, for a lot of reasons,” manager Chris Woodward said, when asked if his team really needed the win. “We basically pitched our three best pitchers today and it came down to a punch out with the bases loaded.”
After allowing three hits, two walks and hitting a batter in the first 1 2/3 innings, Lynn (4-0) retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced before Jonathan Hernandez worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Rafael Montero got the final four outs for his sixth save in as many chances, the longest season-opening streak in Rangers history. After allowing two singles and a walk in the ninth, Montero got out of that bases-loaded jam when Matt Olson took a called third strike before Matt Chapman’s game-ending flyout to right.
“I think there were a few borderline pitches,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve done fine. Fast start. Now we’re at the halfway point, we continue to play well. We had pressure on them again, obviously we didn’t come through there. We’re in pretty good shape, and we like where we are right now.”
The A’s, the AL’s only 20-win team, quickly jumped ahead 1-0 on Mark Canha’s RBI single, the fifth game in a row Texas allowed a run in the first inning. But the Rangers led 2-1 after Todd Frazier’s two-run double that was their third hit in a row in the bottom of the first.
“The first inning was just me being mentally weak I guess,” said Luzardo, who struck out seven and walked two in 6 2/3 innings.
Stephen Piscotty hit Lynn’s first pitch of the second into the A’s bullpen in left-center for his fifth homer of the season. But the Rangers went back ahead in the bottom of the inning on Kiner-Falefa’s opposite-field solo drive to right for his first homer this season.
Lynn threw at least 100 pitchers in his 31st consecutive start since May 2019. That is exactly half the last longer such streak in the majors — 62 in a row by Justin Verlander while with the Detroit Tigers from March 2011 until September 2012.
LEADING OFF FIRST START
Leody Taveras became the first Rangers player since Jason Romano in 2002 to bat leadoff in his first career start. The 21-year-old switch-hitting center fielder was recalled from the alternate training site earlier Monday and went 1-for-3 with a walk. His big league debut was as a defensive replacement ninth inning of the season opener July 24, his only previous appearance in the majors.
Rangers: Placed RHP Jesse Chavez on 10-day injured list with a sprained left big toe. C Robinson Chirinos was activated from the injured list and was the designated hitter and went 1 for 4.
Athletics: Recalled RHP Jordan Weems and C Jonah Heim from the alternate training site, and optioned RHP Paul Blackburn and C Austin Allen to that site in San Jose.
Rangers: INF/OF Rob Refsnyder was designated for assignment.
A’s lefty Sean Manaea (1-2, 6.39 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his last seven starts against Texas. Kyle Gibson (1-2, 4.73) pitches for the Rangers.