Lewis battles to keep it close but homer is costly

Rangers righty allows 3 runs on 10 hits in first loss

Lewis battles to keep it close but homer is costly

SEATTLE -- Colby Lewis threw a curveball to strike out Brad Miller with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning. Lewis' next pitch was a slider to open the fifth after his team had tied the score in the top of the inning.

The slider wasn't as good as the curve. Mike Zunino hit it over the left field wall for a home run that gave Mariners starter Felix Hernandez a 2-1 lead. On a night when Hernandez gave Lewis little room for an error, the slider to Zunino was the key pitch of the night.

"He's an ambush hitter and I didn't make the pitch," Lewis said. "I threw a hanging strike slider. It is what it is."

Hernandez took it from there and Lewis took his first loss of the season as the Rangers went down, 3-1, to the Mariners on Saturday night.

"I thought he settled in nicely and pitched a heckuva game," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He made pitches and he mixed pitches. I felt good with the way Colby was throwing."

Lewis had baserunners on in every inning. He faced 26 batters in 5 2/3 innings and 12 reached base on 10 hits and two walks. Lewis was able to hold the damage to three runs because the Mariners were 1-for-8 off him with runners in scoring position.

"There wasn't one inning that was easy," Lewis said. "I didn't get any quick innings. I was always working out of the stretch. I was just trying to keep it close like I always do."

His defense helped early. Catcher Robinson Chirinos threw out one runner trying to steal on a pitch in the dirt and picked another off second. Right fielder Carlos Peguero and second baseman Rougned Odor saved another run in the first, gunning down Austin Jackson as he tried to score on Robinson Cano's double.

Peguero throws out Jackson

Those plays helped keep it scoreless in the fourth. Then the Mariners loaded the bases with one out. Cano lined a single to right and then Nelson Cruz used a weak half-swing to bounce one through the right side. Cano went to third, Lewis walked Kyle Seager to load the bases and Seth Smith brought the first run home with a sacrifice fly. Lewis walked Logan Morrison to re-load the bases and struck out Miller to end the inning.

The Rangers manufactured a run in the top of the fifth but Lewis couldn't keep it tied. Zunino is now 3-for-10 with three home runs off Lewis in his career.

Lewis also couldn't keep it a one-run game. Seager doubled to lead off the sixth. Lewis retired the next two hitters but Miller grounded a triple down the right-field line to bring home the run. It was the only hit off Lewis with runners in scoring position.

"We were going hitter to hitter there," Banister said. "We felt like he was in control of the at-bats. He just made one bad pitch to Miller."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.