Lewis gets plenty of help in four-hitter

Rangers give Lewis plenty of help in four-hitter

Lewis gets plenty of help in four-hitter
ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Colby Lewis pitched his second straight complete game on Tuesday night.

This time he even won the game, as the Rangers continue to get good starting pitching at a time when they are scrambling to set their rotation because of injuries.

But Lewis is as set as anybody, and he pitched a four-hitter in a 9-1 victory over the D-backs at the Ballpark in Arlington in Tuesday's series opener. Lewis pitched a complete game on Wednesday in Oakland, but lost, 2-0.

"I just put value in putting up innings, keeping the team in the game and going as deep in the game as possible," Lewis said. "That what I want to do. Complete games come and go."

The Rangers also flirted with a no-hitter into the sixth inning for a second straight game. Lewis retired the first 16 batters he faced until Aaron Hill lined a single to left with one out in the sixth. It's the longest a Rangers pitcher has taken a perfect game since Kenny Rogers retired the first 21 hitters he faced on Aug. 9, 2002, against the Indians. Lewis then got Josh Bell to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"If you don't know you haven't given up a hit, you're lying," Lewis said. "It was my fault. I hung a slider and he hit it. It's no big deal. You just go out and get the next guy. It's not like there is two outs in the ninth. It's still early and you have to still go out there and get outs."

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Rangers pitchers also had no-hitter broken up with one out in the sixth on Sunday, when reliever Robbie Ross gave up a double to Aubrey Huff. Tuesday's shutout bid ended in the eighth on Miguel Montero's home run. That also ended a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings by the Rangers' pitching staff.

But Lewis, who had gone 22 innings without giving up a home run, was still able to close out the Rangers' fourth complete game of the season. It was the fifth complete game of the righty's career, and the first time he has pitched back-to-back complete games.

"He was very good and we certainly needed everything he gave us," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Colby is a veteran, he's not going to hurt himself. You're going to hurt him by hitting him, not because he walks guys. He throws it in the spots where he wants to throw it. He did a great job."

Lewis, who leads the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio, struck out seven and walked just one. He relied on fastball command and his usually effective slider, but has also been breaking out a much-improved changeup lately.

"He struck out one guy with a 3-2 changeup," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "He was pounding the zone on both sides of the plate. He was just unbelievable."

He also cooled off a team that had won five straight before arriving in Texas.

"He had all his pitches working, spotting his fastball, his slider, throwing a breaking ball and changeup," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He basically kept us off balance, and we just didn't have a very good approach on him tonight. We didn't make an adjustment to their pitcher. Give him credit for throwing a very good game, but we were jumping at the ball and trying to pull him too much."

Lewis beat D-backs starter Ian Kennedy in a game that was 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth before the Rangers broke the game open with a run of two-out RBI hits. The Rangers had 16 hits on the night, including three each from David Murphy and Ian Kinsler.

"We had some pretty decent at-bats, all with two outs," designated hitter Michael Young said. "He's a good pitcher, one of the best in the league. We weren't swinging the bats good early in the game and he was throwing some quality pitches."

Kinsler manufactured the Rangers' first run when he led off the first with a double and later scored on a two-out wild pitch. That was it until the sixth.

"In between the first and sixth inning, when we finally got him, he had a good changeup and he was using our aggressiveness to his advantage," Washington said. "In the sixth inning, we started laying off the changeup and made him put it in the zone. When we did, we put some good swings on it."

Young singled to right, and Murphy followed with a high drive down the right-field line that disappeared for a two-run home run. Torrealba followed with a single to left, and he scored on Mitch Moreland's double to deep center. Brad Ziegler replaced Kennedy, but Craig Gentry blooped a double to right to score Moreland, and Kinsler singled to center to make it 6-0.

"That was amazing," Washington said. "They just kept coming. That's something we needed to put together, and to do it with two outs, those are some of the toughest RBIs in the game. We did it and we opened it up."

The Rangers added two more in the seventh and one in the eighth against the D-backs' bullpen.

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.