Colby Lewis didn’t need much time to reflect on the Texas Rangers’ 9-2 loss to the Nationals on Friday night.
The explanation was quite simple.
“Five runs with two outs. That’s it,” Lewis said. “That’s ballgame. I don’t want to be rude, but that’s what happened.”
The two-out runs allowed by Lewis were prominent in what became the Rangers’ worst loss on what has been a successful road trip.
But errant throws, misplayed line drives and untimely hitting also contributed to the Rangers’ third loss in their last 10 games.
It started off well, though, before it turned ugly.
The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead in the second after Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg couldn’t handle a dribbler by Leonys Martin that would have ended the inning.
Instead, it put runners at first and third with two outs, and each scored on RBI singles by Nos. 8-9 batters Rougned Odor and Lewis. Leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo couldn’t keep the rally going as he flew out to center.
Those were the only runs the Rangers would get on the night as they went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. The leadoff batter reached in the fourth and sixth innings, but Strasburg worked around them.
“[Strasburg] doesn’t throw 100 mph anymore, but he still throws hard and his changeup was great tonight,” Choo said.
The Rangers’ two-run lead didn’t last long, even though the Nationals have struggled offensively all season. They have scored three or fewer runs in more than half their games.
But Lewis couldn’t get out of a pair of two-out jams, which were sandwiched between a poor defensive decision.
In the fourth, Lewis had runners at second and third with one out. He struck out Wilson Ramos looking for the second out, but then served up a three-run homer to Ian Desmond.
The Rangers gifted the Nationals an insurance run in the fifth. Mitch Moreland tried to throw out the speedy Denard Span going first-to-third on a groundout to third, but the ball got away from Adrian Beltre and Span scored easily.
“Moreland could’ve made the perfect throw and it wouldn’t have mattered,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s just got to eat the ball right there.”
Lewis ran into more two-out troubles in the sixth. He gave up a two-out, two-run double to pinch-hitter Tyler Moore, who connected on a slider.
“They got two hits when they needed to get two hits,” Lewis said. “Usually, I’m a little bit better than that and lock it down and not let it happen. But they made it happen twice tonight, and that’s all there is to it.”
Lewis took the loss to fall to 4-4 on the season and has traded wins and losses in almost every other start.
Lewis and Washington aren’t overly concerned about that trend and feel things are continuing to move in the right direction.
Lewis felt he warmed up well and had “great stuff” outside of the two pitches, and Washington believes Lewis continues to get stronger with each start.
“He just made a couple bad pitches,” Washington said. “Take two pitches back, and five runs are off the board.
“Each time he takes the mound, it’s a new experience for him, and he’s strengthening himself as he goes along.”
The game got more out of hand as it went along. Right fielder Alex Rios attempted to make a play on a line drive by Ramos in the seventh inning but misjudged it, and two more runs scored.
It wasn’t the Rangers’ night, but at least there’s a short turnaround to Saturday’sgame. Right?
“I’d rather be playing at night,” Washington said. “But that’s not the way it is.”