By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lance Lynn did what he has been doing throughout his first season with the Texas Rangers with another quality start.
While Lynn allowed one run over seven innings, the Cleveland Indians finally got to see Mike Clevinger back on the mound, though their lanky right-hander gave them a bit of an early scare in his return from the injured list in a 7-2 loss Monday night.
“One, it was nice seeing him out there. Two, he scared the heck out of us when he went down,” manager Terry Francona said. “It was nice to see him back competing. As he gets reps under his belt, he’ll build up, he’ll refine his pitches and he’ll be OK.”
Clevinger (1-1) struck out seven and walked three, with all of those among five runs he allowed in his first start since April 7. He threw 12 scoreless innings with 22 strikeouts his first two starts before missing more than two months because of a muscle strain in his upper back.
The concerning moment came in the second inning when coming off the mound on a grounder. Clevinger immediately took pressure off his left ankle and dropped to the ground after an initial awkward step.
“It’s definitely scary, especially just coming off the DL, or IL. It was pretty sticky and then I kind of finished up across my body,” Clevinger said. “And then went to take off and my foot stayed into the ground. The X-rays came back good.”
Lynn (8-4) struck out nine without a walk. The veteran right-hander has gone at least six innings in 10 consecutive starts, allowing three runs or fewer in the last eight.
“He gives me a little bit of a breather as far as like having to worry about what we’re going to get,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s just consistent in his performance every single time he’s out there.”
Danny Santana hit a two-run homer after Willie Calhoun’s two-out walk in the fourth.
Clevinger was done after consecutive two-out walks in the fifth. Elvis Andrus doubled on reliever Tyler Clippard’s second pitch to make it 5-1.
Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado hit solo homers for Cleveland. Lindor’s 12th homer , in the fifth, was the only run off Lynn.
Santana, the switch-hitting utility player, started in right field with Nomar Mazara out for the second game in a row with right hamstring tightness. He signed in the sixth for his third consecutive multi-hit game, then scored from second base on a wild pitch by Tyler Olson that ricocheted off the brick backstop toward the Rangers dugout.
“He did it all today, everything was kind of on display,” Woodward said. “I can’t say enough about the kid. He’s so good for us in so many ways.”
The stadium sustained minor damage during heavy storms Sunday. The National Weather Service confirmed an F1 tornado with winds of 95 mph touched down briefly nearby. It was unclear if the tornado was responsible for the damage that included wind screens ripped away and some roof damage above some upper left-field seats that were unoccupied Monday night. The team said there was no damage at its new ballpark being built across the street.
Texas scored all of its runs with two outs. … The Rangers (39-33) are six games above .500, matching their highest mark this season. … Lindor has a six-game hitting streak and has reached base in 20 of his last 22 games.
Indians: To clear a roster spot for Clevinger, LHP Josh Smith was optioned to Triple-A Columbus and RHP Corey Kluber was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list. Kluber has been cleared for strengthening activities, but it is still uncertain when he will resume throwing.
Rangers: OF Joey Gallo (left oblique strain), out since June 2, is set to go to the team’s spring training complex in Arizona on Tuesday to continue his rehab. He was scheduled to be there Monday, but worked out in Texas after his flight got canceled. … OF Hunter Pence (right groin strain) was put on the 10-day injured list, and Calhoun was activated from the IL.
Indians: In his last start, rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (1-2, 2.92 ERA) became the first Indians pitcher ever to allow homers to the first two batters of a home game.
Rangers: RHP Adrian Sampson (5-3) was without a big league victory before going 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA his last six games (three starts).
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