Lewis loses command, 'pen struggles vs. A's

Righty walks three in fifth, gives up three earned runs in outing

Lewis loses command, 'pen struggles vs. A's

ARLINGTON -- Through four innings, Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis had faced the minimum and was making quick work of the Athletics.

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After that, the wheels fell off for Lewis and the Texas bullpen. It resulted in a 6-3 loss to the A's -- the Rangers' fifth defeat in a row.

Lewis walked three batters in the fifth inning and gave up a two-run single to Sam Fuld that tied the game at 2.

Fuld's game-tying single

"I don't remember the last time I walked three guys in one inning," Lewis said. "That might date back to my rookie year. That was just bad pitching. Solely on myself. I got in a 3-0 count with Fuld there, threw three fastballs in the exact same spot, and he ended up hitting it."

Lewis got out of the inning, and Rangers manager Jeff Banister said his veteran status earned him the right to come back out for the sixth after the Rangers reclaimed a one-run lead. Lewis allowed three singles and a sacrifice fly that tied that game at 3.

Reddick's game-tying sac fly

Lewis still limited the damage to walk away with his fifth consecutive quality start and keep his team in the game.

"Last two innings, the fifth is what I'm more disappointed in myself," Lewis said. "I've got to go out there and have a better inning, but I didn't, so it turned on me."

The Rangers' bullpen continued its up-and-down flow when it couldn't bail Lewis out. One night after relievers pitched five scoreless innings, Keone Kela was charged with two earned runs in the seventh and took his fourth loss in his past nine outings.

After retiring the first two Oakland batters in the seventh, Kela allowed singles to Billy Burns and Eric Sogard. The Rangers brought in left-hander Sam Freeman, and Stephen Vogt hit a liner back at Freeman that would likely have been an out to shortstop Elvis Andrus had Freeman not deflected it.

"Looking back, I should have just kept my hand down," Freeman said. "Elvis was right there. … It's all hindsight. I've been almost hit in the face more times than I want to count, so it's the reaction to put the glove up."

Freeman walked Ben Zobrist to force a run home before Josh Reddick hit a two-run single to make it 6-3 before Freeman exited.

Reddick's two-run single

"I think the whole outing makes me mad," Freeman said. "[The walk is] obviously a negative part of it, but just not being able to come through and strand those runners, that's tough."

The Rangers' bullpen has had its moments this month, but Texas still has the second-highest bullpen ERA in the American League behind Oakland.

Banister, though, remains all about positivity when it comes to his players.

"These guys, remember now, there was a stretch where they were nails," Banister said. "They were good. Really good. … We know there are going to be stretches like this. We talked about it. How you react to them, how you bounce back from them, how you answer back is probably the most important thing."

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.