Lewis' 9-K gem likely to fuel trade buzz

Lewis' 9-K gem likely to fuel trade buzz

DENVER -- With one week to go before the Trade Deadline, Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis took the mound on Friday night and delivered the kind of performance that has to catch the attention of teams looking for starting pitching.

Clubs have asked the Rangers about Lewis as the Deadline approaches, and the frequency of phone calls may increase after he held the Angels to two runs over 7 2/3 innings in a 4-2 victory at Angel Stadium.

Lewis allowed five hits, walked one and struck out nine in snapping his six-game losing streak against the Angels. His next start is scheduled for Wednesday against the Yankees, two days before the Deadline. Leaving Texas is not something that interests Lewis.

"My heart is [in Texas]," Lewis said. "I feel like we're still in this. I don't think I'll be going anywhere. This is my second home. I don't want to be anywhere else. Rumors are what they are. I don't see myself going anywhere else."

Lewis is 10-4 with a 4.49 ERA in 20 starts, including 6-1 with a 4.30 ERA in his last 10.

Lewis had lost six straight starts against the Angels but made a significant adjustment on Friday night. Instead of attacking with his fastball, Lewis relied more on his offspeed pitches, especially his slider. The Angels never really adjusted.

"I felt a little unorthodox out there," Lewis said. "Normally everything feeds off the fastball, but I threw a lot of offspeed stuff and got some early outs."

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the slider was the best he has seen from Lewis this season. The nine strikeouts were a season high.

"He came out throwing quality strikes," Banister said. "That was the key and he kept those guys off balance. He got them out of their comfort zone. That's what he needed to do."

Lewis retired 10 of the first 11 batters faced before Mike Trout hit a home run with one out in the fourth to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. But the Rangers struck back with three runs in the top of the fifth off Angels starter Nick Tropeano.

Lewis set down the side in order in the bottom of the inning before running into trouble in the sixth as Daniel Robertson and Johnny Giavotella reached on infield singles. That set the table with no outs for Kole Calhoun, Trout and Albert Pujols.

Lewis struck them out in 13 pitches.

"I was just trying to go pitch by pitch," Lewis said. "I threw a bunch of sliders and they weren't seeing them tonight. I was fortunate to get some quick swings and get out of the inning."

There was one more tense moment in the eighth as Lewis gave up a leadoff single to Kyle Kubitz and another with two outs to Calhoun. This time Banister brought in reliever Keone Kela to face Trout.

Kela gave up a run-scoring single to the reigning American League Most Valuable Player but struck out Pujols looking on a 2-2 fastball clocked at 98 mph on the low inside corner.

Kela escapes trouble

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