Lewis, facing two on with two out in the seventh, gave up a two-run triple to Johnny Damon, and that proved to be the back-breaking blow in the Rangers' 6-3 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field.
Washington had Ross ready in the bullpen if he wanted a lefty vs. lefty matchup against Damon but instead decided to stay with Lewis. Damon was hitless in three at-bats to that point, but with the Indians leading, 4-3, he tripled to deep center to send home two big runs.
"I felt like Colby had been getting him out all day," Washington said. "That was one of two moves I could have made that didn't work out. I'll take the blame for that one. ... One batter too late. That one is on me."
The other move that had Washington second-guessing himself came in the eighth, which Josh Hamilton led off with a single off reliever Vinnie Pestano. Michael Young worked the count full, and Washington had Hamilton running, but Young struck out and Hamilton was thrown out for a double play.
"I thought Michael would be able to put the ball in play and make something happen," Washington said.
It was clear after the game that Damon's hit was the big blow, giving Pestano and All-Star closer Chris Perez a three-run cushion to save the game for starter Jeanmar Perez.
"A one-run game with [the Rangers'] lineup, every pitch is intense," Perez said. "They have so many good hitters over there and guys that put up good at-bats. That was a big hit by Johnny giving us a couple of extra runs. To have that three-run cushion felt pretty good."
The loss was the Rangers' third in a row and fifth in their last seven games.
"They did a great job of putting runs on the board, and we didn't," outfielder David Murphy said. "We didn't create a whole lot of opportunities, but you have to give their starter credit. And when Colby made a mistake, they made him pay."
Home runs by Shin-Soo Choo and Jack Hannahan helped the Indians take a two-run lead off Lewis through three innings. The Rangers, on the strength of a couple of doubles by Young, rallied to tie the score, but the Indians regained the lead in the sixth. Jason Kipnis led off with a single, stole second and went to third on Asdrubal Cabrera's infield single. Travis Hafner sent Kipnis home with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Rangers missed a big chance in the seventh against Jeanmar Gomez. Mitch Moreland led off with a single, and Alberto Gonzalez laid down a sacrifice bunt. Gomez went for the lead runner at second and bounced his throw, giving the Rangers runners at first and second with Ian Kinsler at the plate. Washington did not have Kinsler attempt to move the runners by bunting, and he did not second-guess himself on that one.
"He can get us three runs with one swing of the bat," Washington said. "Once we get runners to first and second, I'm not taking the bat out of his hands."
Kinsler swung away and hit a grounder right at Hannahan at third. The Indians turned the double play, and Elvis Andrus grounded out to end the inning.
That still left it a one-run game, and Lewis retired the first two hitters in the seventh. Then he walked Casey Kotchman, and Hannahan grounded a single through the right side.
"I keep saying [that] you can't walk guys, and I walked that guy in the seventh," Lewis said. "Then I made a good pitch to Hannahan, and he squeezed it through."
That brought up Damon, who hit an 0-1 curve over Hamilton's head in center to send home both runs, and that was it for Lewis. Ross took over and struck out Kipnis to end the inning.
"An 0-1 curve. ... I hadn't thrown one to him all day," Lewis said. "I had gotten him out making him swing at bad pitches -- good pitches for me, bad pitches for him. He made it happen when he needed to make it happen."