Fresh Lowe looks like old self out of bullpen

Fresh Lowe looks like old self out of bullpen

ARLINGTON -- Reliever Mark Lowe is quietly putting together a breakthrough comeback season, even though he's in his third season with the Rangers.

Lowe entered Sunday's action with the fifth-lowest ERA in the American League at 0.77. He hadn't allowed an earned run since giving up a home run to Tampa Bay's Luke Scott on April 27. But on Sunday, he allowed three runs over two-thirds of an inning in the Rangers' 13-6 win on Sunday to see his ERA jump to 2.92.

Lowe was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle in 2010, and pitched in two World Series games that season. He had a 3.80 ERA in 45 innings last year. But Lowe is looking more and more like the pitcher he was in 2009 with Seattle (3.26 ERA) before back surgery set him back.

He is stronger than ever since having the surgery and working with pitching coach Mike Maddux has made his 96-97 mph fastball even more effective.

"The main thing is he's shortened his stroke a little bit," manager Ron Washington said. "Now his fastball is more downhill. There's more quickness and depth on his breaking ball because he's shortened his stroke."

The depth of the Rangers' bullpen has helped keep Lowe and the other relievers fresh. He has only pitched on back-to-back days once this season on May 6-7. He went two innings against the Yankees on April 23 for his longest outing since 1999.