Lynn makes history with 10 strikeouts in 11-0 victory

News-DemocratMarch 13, 2014 

Cards starter Lance Lynn struck out 10, including eight in a row, Thursday against Atlanta.

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JUPITER, Fla. --Lance Lynn was somber Thursday afternoon, almost as if he had pitched poorly.

That was hardly the case. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Lynn became the first St. Louis Cardinals pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in a spring-training game in the last 20 years.

Lynn whiffed 10 Atlanta Braves, including eight in a row, in four innings as the Cardinals won 11-0 at Roger Dean Stadium to improve to 4-8-2 in Grapefruit League games. Lynn threw 66 pitches, 44 for strikes.

"Today was a good day," said Lynn, an 18-game winner in 2013. "It's part of the process. The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I was just able to make pitches today, and that's what it's all about. It's starting to get there."

Lynn said it wasn't the first time he's struck out eight in a row.

"High school. College. Minor leagues. I'm pretty sure I did seven in the big leagues," Lynn said. "But it's spring training. It doesn't matter."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny took notice.

"His breaking ball looked very good; his fastball, obviously, was overpowering at times," Matheny said. "He had a good day. I thought he used everything very well."

Matheny doesn't get carried away with spring-training statistics. But when asked of Lynn's big strikeout total, he said: "You don't deny anything. That was very indicative of the rhythm he had. He had a good feel for the ball, a good feel for the mound and it looked like everything was coming out of his hand very nice."

Lynn was coming off a shaky outing Friday against the Miami Marlins, a game in which he allowed five runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings. Even in spring training, no pitcher wants that.

But Lynn was in complete command against the Braves. After coming back from a 3-1 count to strike out leadoff hitter B.J. Upton, Lynn consistently was in the strike zone. He walked none and surrendered one hit --a single by Ernesto Mejia in the second.

"Everything was in the strike zone and was down for the most part, so that's good," Lynn said, adding that it's not deep enough into spring training for him to care about results.

But did he like the results Thursday?

"They're better than they were last time, weren't they?" he said. "For me, I'm just working on getting all my pitches where I would like them. I'm not worried about what (the hitters) are doing."

Lynn recorded strikeouts with every pitch except his curveball.

"We kind of went down the line --fastball to the curveball to the change to the slider," he said. "Early, the slider wasn't very good. It was good later. I threw first-pitch curveballs for strikes, which was good. Then I started throwing changeups. It's another pitch for me and it's going to be an exciting one for the season."

Matheny likes pitchers to get quick, economical outs. That, of course, keeps their pitch count low, creating longer outings and less stress on a bullpen. But to see domination was fun for the manager.

"I've got no problem with strikeouts," Matheny said. "I've got no problem with home runs. We don't preach home runs. We do preach when you get a guy to an 0-2 situation, you need to put him away. How quickly can you put him away?

"There's a lot of value to that, and having the stuff to do it stands out. Lance obviously has it."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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