Lewis pays for mistakes as Texas Rangers lose third straight

CLEVELAND -- A day off didn't help the Texas Rangers' rotation shake their case of the hiccups, which spread Friday night to right-hander Colby Lewis.

He became the fourth starter in the past five games to fail to deliver a quality start, and the result was the Rangers' third consecutive loss and the fourth in five games.

Lewis didn't pitch poorly, but Cleveland didn't allow him to get away with any mistakes in a 6-3 loss at Progressive Field. Shin-Soo Choo and Jack Hannahan hit early homers, and Johnny Damon delivered a two-run triple in the seventh.

The six runs Lewis allowed in 6 2/3 innings gave the rotation a 7.45 ERA its last full time through, but the panic button hasn't been pressed quite yet.

"You go through stretches in this game where these types of things go on," manager Ron Washington said. "I still think the pitching we've got is going to come around."

Only Yu Darvish avoided a letdown over the past five games, and Lewis (3-1) had avoided one through six innings Friday.

He kept the Rangers close, trailing 4-3, until the seventh, when he issued a two-out walk to Casey Kotchman to keep the inning alive. Damon drove a curveball over Josh Hamilton's head and off the center-field wall two batters later.

Washington admitted that he shouldn't have let Lewis face the left-handed-hitting Damon with lefty Robbie Ross loose in the bullpen. Lewis, though, had retired Damon on three lazy fly balls to left field in his first three at-bats.

"I'll take the blame on that one," Washington said.

Said Lewis: "It's just one of those situations where, like I always say, don't walk guys. I made a pretty good start go to not so good."

Washington also shouldered the blame for a double play in the eighth, after Hamilton led off with a single. He was thrown out trying to steal second as Michael Young struck out in a situation in which Washington was anticipating contact and trying to avoid a double-play grounder.

The Rangers missed a scoring opportunity an inning earlier after the first two hitters had reached after a single and a poorly played sacrifice bunt. Ian Kinsler followed in a situation that usually calls for a bunt, but Washington wanted to give Kinsler a chance for an extra-base hit.

Instead, he hit into a double play to kill the rally.

"He can get us three runs with one swing of the bat," Washington said. "I wasn't going to take the bat out of his hands."

Kinsler gave the Rangers their first run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly after Choo had hit a two-run homer in the second. Hannahan countered the Rangers' run with a solo homer, after a video review, to start the Indians' third.

The Rangers again struck with a quick run, this one after back-to-back doubles by Young and David Murphy to start the fourth. The Rangers pulled even at 3-3 in the sixth, as Nelson Cruz snapped an 0 for 14 skid with a two-out single to left that brought in Young from third.

Lewis, though, couldn't keep it tied. Jason Kipnis started the Indians' half with a single and was at third with no outs after a stolen base and an infield hit. Travis Hafner delivered a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead.

Just when it looked as though the Rangers would strike back, Kinsler bounced into the double play in the seventh. Just when it looked like Lewis would escape the seventh, Damon struck with the game's biggest hit.

"That game's a lot different in the ninth inning with a one-run deficit instead of a three-run deficit," Murphy said. "When Colby made a mistake, they made him pay."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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