SEATTLE — Colby Lewis was steaming in the initial moments after he pitched the Texas Rangers to a 4-0 victory Friday night, and his plans the rest of evening included some good, old fashioned stewing.
His anger wasn’t directed at manager Ron Washington, who came to the mound with two outs in the ninth inning and took the ball from the right-hander.
Lewis was angry at himself for failing to lock down a complete-game shutout against Seattle. But his consolation prize wasn’t all that bad.
Lewis scattered four hits over 8 2/3 innings as the Rangers won their ninth straight game. They haven’t allowed a run since the eighth inning last Saturday, a span of 29 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Rangers moved 2 ½ games up in the American League West with the win and the Angels’ loss at Oakland.
The key for Lewis, as it was for Derek Holland a night earlier at Safeco Field and Matt Harrison on Sunday at Rangers Ballpark, was fastball command. Lewis had it, and the watered-down Mariners lineup couldn’t do anything with it.
“Any pitcher will tell you if you’re able to command your pitches and keep them off-balance, it’s a lot easier to get outs,” said Lewis, who just missed his third complete game of the season.
“It’s always disappointing. You want to finish it off when you get that close. I’ll stew in it tonight. I had five opportunities. They got some hits before I could get three outs.”
Lewis (9-7) entered the ninth at 110 pitches and quickly got Brendan Ryan for the first out. Rookie Dustin Ackley singled, but Miguel Olivo flied out to center field.
Adam Kennedy followed with a single to left field on Lewis’ 121st pitch, and Washington made the long, slow walk to the mound. Neftali Feliz needed only two pitches — both 99 mph fastballs — to retire Jack Cust on a slow grounder to end the game.
“He’d done a great job to that point,” Washington said. “They put [two] base hits together, and we were just going to shut it down right there.”
The Rangers backed Lewis with three sacrifice flies and an RBI single by Michael Young. Lewis was handed a 1-0 lead in the first after Ian Kinsler doubled off Doug Fister (3-11) to start the game, went to third on a groundout by Elvis Andrus and scored on a Josh Hamilton flyball to left-center field.
Endy Chavez and Adrian Beltre also delivered sacrifice flies. Young’s single to left in the eighth scored Andrus with two outs.
“Our situational hitting was extremely good today,” Washington said. “Three runs on sacrifice flies, and then Michael got us a legitimate run. That’s the way you play baseball.” How Rangers pitchers fared: Colby Lewis wasn’t exactly thrilled that he couldn’t finish off a complete game, coming up an out short. He scattered four hits, two in the ninth as his pitch count topped out at 121. Lewis walked two and struck out eight while picking up his first career win at Safeco Field.
How Rangers hitters fared: Their six hits would suggest a down night, but manager Ron Washington was thrilled with their situational hitting. Their first three runs came on sacrifice flies, and Michael Young provided a two-out RBI single in the eighth.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760