Rallying Rangers fall after Lewis' wild start

Rallying Rangers fall after Lewis' wild start

Rallying Rangers fall after Lewis' wild start
BALTIMORE -- As he stood outside the visitors' clubhouse between games, Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis tried to describe what had just happened. Even he was having a hard time explaining his seven innings of work.

"When I came out of the game, I didn't even feel like I had thrown," Lewis said. "I felt like I had some of my best stuff all year. It was just a weird game. I don't know how to justify that game."

Lewis set a career high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings on Thursday afternoon against the Orioles. He also gave up a career-high five home runs, and did so without giving up a single, double or triple.

Lewis ended up with one of the strangest pitching lines in history and also ended up as the losing pitcher in the Rangers' 6-5 loss to the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader at Camden Yards. Lewis became the first Major League pitcher to allow five home runs and strike out at least 10 batters in the same game.

"He still kept us in the ballgame," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Five home runs, usually a lot of damage is done and you can't come back from that. But we almost did."

Lewis gave up three consecutive home runs in the first inning and two more in the seventh. In between all of the home runs, Lewis found a way to retire 18 straight hitters.

"The first inning, you still have to keep your team in the game," Lewis said. "Of course you want a clean inning, but if it doesn't you still try to go as long as you can and keep your team in the game. You keep making pitches and not worry, eventually somebody was going to get out."

Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen earned the victory by holding the Rangers to two runs on six hits, a walk and five strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings.

"I didn't see all that outstanding stuff, but you have to give him credit," Washington said. "He went 7 2/3 innings and shut down a pretty good team, and he did it with his fastball. I don't know if he has late movement with it or hides it well, but he did a good job with his fastball."

Josh Hamilton was 1-for-4 with a single in his first game since tying a Major League record with four home runs on Tuesday night. Hamilton went into the game with five home runs and a double in his previous six at-bats before striking out in his first at-bat.

The Orioles struck with three home runs to start their half of the first. Rookie Ryan Flaherty, a Rule 5 acquisition from the Cubs over the winter, led off the inning with his first Major League home run. Flaherty hit Lewis' second pitch, an 0-1 fastball, over the right-field wall.

J.J. Hardy, with the count 1-1, also hit a fastball deep into the seats in left field for a home run. Lewis got ahead 0-2 to Nick Markakis and then threw a slider. Markakis hit it deep down the right-field line, and the ball stayed fair for a home run. It was the first time in American League history a team has begun with three straight home runs, and the fourth time in Major League history.

Lewis then retired 18 straight batters, including 11 by strikeout, six of which came consecutively at one point, before Adam Jones led off the seventh inning with a home run. Lewis then walked Matt Wieters, and Wilson Betemit hit the Orioles' fifth home run of the night to give them a 6-1 lead.

"I've known Colby for a long time; I knew it was only a matter of time before he settled in," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We were fortunate to take advantage of it early. We didn't mount much after that ... but I thought the tack-on runs after the home runs were even bigger."

The Rangers' record for most home runs allowed in a game is six by R.A. Dickey on April 6, 2006, against the Detroit Tigers. Charlie Hough is the only other Rangers pitcher to allow five home runs and no other hits in a game.

The Rangers trailed, 6-2, going into the ninth before Nelson Cruz singled to center and Yorvit Torrealba doubled to left. Mitch Moreland, pinch-hitting for Brandon Snyder, popped out to center but David Murphy, stepping in for Craig Gentry, hit a three-run home run to right off of Orioles closer Jim Johnson. But he retired the next two hitters to end the game.

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.