TORONTO -- Colby Lewis has won more postseason games than any pitcher in Texas Rangers history, but the 37-year-old right-hander got rocked early in Sunday night's series-deciding 7-6 loss in Game 3 of the American League Division Series as Texas' troubling trend for its starters was too much to overcome.
Lewis was pulled by manager Jeff Banister after giving up five hits and five runs in two-plus innings. Combined with Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, the Rangers' three starters allowed 16 hits and 17 runs (16 earned) in 10 1/3 innings in the three straight losses, for a 13.94 ERA.
Texas rallied back from a 5-2 deficit after three innings to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth inning, but it lost on a 10th-inning throwing error by Rougned Odor as the club was eliminated in the ALDS by Toronto for a second straight year, this time despite the best regular-season record in the AL.
"It's disappointing," Lewis said. "What we accomplished during the year doesn't take the bite out of what happened the last three games. They got hot at the right time. We've seen it in the past, especially with the Giants and stuff like that. It's a three-game series, you can get hot at the right time and get momentum, and that's what they did."
Lewis, making his fifth start since returning from a three-month stint on the disabled list with a strained latissimus dorsi muscle, gave up a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion and a solo shot to Russell Martin in the first inning after the Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, their first lead of the series.
After a 1-2-3 second inning, Lewis opened the third by surrendering a leadoff single to Ezequiel Carrera and a run-scoring ground-rule double to Josh Donaldson before getting the hook from Banister. Lewis' fifth earned run came when reliever Tony Barnette allowed an RBI single to Encarnacion to score Donaldson.
"I threw two sliders for strikes in the first, and they put good swings on them and hit homers," Lewis said. "Other than that, I felt like I threw the ball pretty good. I didn't get a lot of time out there to settle in, but I know it's Game 3 and it's going to be a short leash. It is what it is."
Lewis had a 4-1 record and a 2.38 ERA in nine previous postseason appearances, including eight starts, though this was his first since 2011.
Banister said the veteran simply wasn't locating well.
"He missed middle, missed middle-down," Banister said. "It seemed like the slider early was not as effective. I think the home run early was a missed slider over the middle of the plate. It was just a situation where he couldn't get a rhythm going and make the pitches he needed to."
Lewis was 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts before going on the disabled list. He returned on Sept. 11 and went 0-4 with a 7.97 ERA in his last five starts, including the postseason loss.
"I felt great. I felt great in previous starts," Lewis said. "It wasn't any one pitch or anything. The pitches I did throw were decently located, except for the two that were just strike sliders and they put swings on them. That's playoff baseball, and I got beat."
But Lewis, who will be a free agent this offseason, said he'd like to return and see more postseason baseball with the Rangers.
"I'm happy with the way our season went and where we are now, how hard these guys fought to get back in the game and recover from me," Lewis said. "I'm really proud of everybody. This organization has done a really good job of getting everybody in line to put us in this position pretty much every year. The bullseye is on our back and we just got beat.
"That's just the way it goes. We're packing up and they're moving on."
Greg Johns has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.