Many times this season, after a botched play or bad pitch or lousy at-bat, manager Ron Washington has wondered what the heck had just happened with his Texas Rangers.
He knows, of course. Some of his players aren’t talented enough, or are talented enough but don’t have the experience to make them look talented. A few others are talented and inexperienced, but they aren’t meeting expectations.
So, he again had to wonder Tuesday what the heck was happening at U.S. Cellular Field. His Rangers could do no wrong. Not at the plate. Not on the mound. Not in the field.
For a man who each and every day pays his respects to a higher power in the hopes that his team will be graced with good fortune, but for the most part hasn’t heard squat from the baseball gods, the Rangers’ 16-0 victory must have felt like a miracle.
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“Finally, everything just got put back together,” Washington said.
Robinson Chirinos hit two of the Rangers’ season-high five homers, but Colby Lewis ultimately made the most significant contribution with his first shutout since 2011.
It was definitely the Rangers’ best game since the bottom started to fall out in June, and arguably their best of the season. Every starter had a hit as the Rangers rolled to their season-high in runs.
The final margin rates as the largest shutout in team history.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Lewis, who allowed six hits and a walk and struck out seven.
J.P. Arencibia went 3 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs, and Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo also homered.
The ambush started early with Beltre hitting a two-run homer in the first for a 3-0 lead. Chirinos started the second with a drive to center field, and Arencibia had a bases-loaded double with two outs.
Arencibia and Chirinos hit solo homers in the fifth, and Choo started the sixth with another homer.
“Everybody contributed to it,” Beltre said. “There’s no doubt we have the talent to be doing that more often. Even though we have a young team and they’re not supposed to be in the big leagues yet, they have talent and they know they can do it.
“It’s just a matter of getting it done on the field.”
Lewis, meanwhile, pitched around a one-out double in the first and a walk and single to start the second. The White Sox also had a runner get to second in the fourth, though with two outs.
Lewis didn’t permit another runner past first base the rest of the way.
“Colby was the show tonight,” Washington said.
Lewis, though, graciously gave the hitters credit for his success.
“The offense definitely made my job easier,” he said. “They gave me a lot of relaxation, and I was able to go out there and get a lot of quick outs.”
The personal ramifications of the start weren’t lost on Lewis, who didn’t know if he would pitch again after having a hip resurfacing last August. He struggled early in the season, but has posted four straight solid starts with a 2.31 ERA.
The shutout was his first since May 16, 2011, and the second of his career. Both have been at U.S. Cellular Field, but the one Tuesday held special significance.
“A long journey, that’s for sure, but it’s been a blessed one,” Lewis said. “The Rangers have given me an opportunity to come back. It was just a good night.”
The baseball gods might have finally bestowed their grace to the Rangers.
“I have no issue with the way my guys have been going about their business,” Washington said. “They keep going. I just hope this is a reward that can finally turn things around.”