June 12, 2012

Colby Lewis close to perfect in Rangers' rout of Diamondbacks

All night the Rangers right-hander knew what he had going. He had only pitched from his windup delivery, retiring batter after batter the first five innings.

ARLINGTON -- All night Colby Lewis knew what he had going. He had only pitched from his windup delivery, retiring batter after batter the first five innings.

He carried a perfect game bid into the sixth inning, but saw it come to an end with one out in the inning. Lewis left an 0-2 slider in the zone, and Aaron Hill lined it to left for a single.

Even though dreams of a perfect game or a no-hitter were over, Lewis went on to a complete-game victory by leading the Rangers to a 9-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark.

The 5 1/3 perfect innings by Lewis were the most by a Rangers pitcher since Kenny Rogers threw seven perfect innings on Aug. 9, 2002 at Cleveland.

"If you don't know you haven't given up a hit, you're lying," said Lewis, who allowed one run on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on the night.

"It was fun. My fault, I hung a strike/slider to Hill and he hit it. No big deal. You have to go after the next guy and not worry about it."

Lewis did just that, inducing an inning-ending double play grounder by Josh Bell in the sixth and keeping a 1-0 Texas lead intact.

The Rangers' offense then came alive in the bottom half of the inning against Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, who had held them in check most of the night. Kennedy retired the first two batters of the sixth, but the Rangers then unleashed a two-out hit parade.

Michael Young singled to right, and then David Murphy sent a high fly ball over the right-field fence. Yorvit Torrealba followed with a single to left, and Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry had consecutive RBI doubles. Moreland smoked a ball to center, while Gentry blooped his down the right-field line.

Ian Kinsler capped off a string of six consecutive two-out hits with a run-scoring single to center. It was the most consecutive hits since the Rangers had six straight with one out on Sept. 24, 2011 against Seattle.

"That was amazing," manager Ron Washington said. "That's something we needed to put together, and we certainly put it together with two outs and that's very tough to do. That's some of the toughest RBIs to get in the game, and we did it tonight in the one inning and opened things up."

The Rangers cushioned their lead with two more runs in the seventh. Moreland had an RBI single off D'backs left-hander Mike Zagurski, who then gifted a run by hitting Gentry with a pitch when the bases were loaded.

Texas scored another run in the eighth when Elvis Andrus led off with a triple and scored on a single by Josh Hamilton. All nine starters had at least one hit on the night.

But the night belonged to Lewis, who turned in his second consecutive complete-game effort. He went eight innings in a 2-0 loss on Wednesday at Oakland. It was a welcomed pitching performance on the day the Rangers placed right-hander Alexi Ogando on the disabled list.

"It's amazing how Colby pounds the strike zone," catcher Torrealba said. "Whatever I put down, he executed. His slider was filthy; he pounded both sides of the plate with his fastball. It was unbelievable."

Perfect for a while, too.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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