Another win for Lewis, but no ordinary one
Veteran righty gets first win since 2012; Fielder belts second homer
ARLINGTON -- Colby Lewis turned another page in his compelling comeback story Saturday night.
A year and 10 months after his last Major League victory, after spending that time rehabbing after elbow and hip surgeries, Lewis earned his first win of 2014 in a 6-3 defeat of the White Sox.
Lewis was stuck on career win No. 44 for 671 days, during which time there was no guarantee he'd ever get another one. Saturday night, he did it, allowing only one run in 5 1/3 innings, scattering six hits, walking one and striking out four.
Lewis left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 44,811 at Globe Life Park.
"It's pretty sentimental," Lewis said. "It's one of the victories that I'm just excited about. Even though I'm still kind of disappointed that I didn't go deeper into the ballgame, 85 pitches, [pitching coach Mike] Maddux and I talked about, I felt like the 85 were a lot better than the  that I threw the other day."
Lewis also lasted 5 1/3 innings in his first start April 14, but was much more effective Saturday.
"I felt like I was more relaxed, got the bugs and the jitters and all that kind of stuff out of the way," Lewis said. "I was more myself tonight. Definitely excited to get that first victory out of the way and move on."
Lewis got into serious trouble only a couple of times -- in the second inning, when the White Sox loaded the bases with one out, and in the sixth, when he put men on first and second with one out before manager Ron Washington went to his bullpen.
In the second-inning jam, Lewis got a double-play ground ball to third from Alexei Ramirez after allowing three consecutive singles to Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, who drove in Abreu.
"It was basically damage control at that point," Lewis said. "You've got the bases loaded with no outs, you want to induce a ground ball. I was fortunate enough to do that."
The sixth-inning situation was enough to bring Washington out to the mound to take the ball. With left-hander Dunn coming up, Washington chose to bring in Aaron Poreda, a hard-throwing lefty.
"Right there, we had a lead in the game and Dunn coming up, a dangerous hitter," Washington said. "I just didn't want a mistake to happen right there."
Washington said Lewis had enough left to keep pitching had the situation been different: "He could have stayed out there -- definitely."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura thought Lewis had good command Saturday.
"You watch him battle through," Ventura said. "You know he's going to move the ball around. People always talk about velocity and things like that, but he's a smart pitcher, knows how to move it around, run it inside. Placement was big for him tonight."
The Rangers built their lead on Alex Rios' RBI double in the first, Prince Fielder's solo homer in the fourth and Josh Wilson's two-run single with two outs and two strikes in the fourth.
"That was a big at-bat by Josh," Washington said. "It gave us some breathing room right there."
The Rangers' first five runs came off White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who allowed nine hits and two walks.
"The fourth inning changed the game for me on one pitch," Quintana said.
They also got a solo shot from Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has performed as well as the Rangers could have hoped during his stint as the injured Adrian Beltre's replacement. Kouzmanoff has a 10-game hitting streak to start his Rangers career.
The Rangers' bullpen held tight to preserve the win, with the combination of Aaron Poreda, Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria recording the final 11 outs. Soria earned his third save of the season.
Frasor entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth and got a groundout to get out of the jam. Cotts pitched a 1-2-3 seventh before Ogando got in trouble in the eighth; he allowed two runs on a walk and two hits, including Viciedo's two-run single, but got Ramirez to hit into another double-play grounder to end the rally.
The Rangers have now won five in a row, matching the longest winning streak this season in the American League. In four of those five games, the team has had 10 or more hits, and they've scored in the first inning in each of the last three games.
For Washington, the recent streak shows the Rangers are capable of more than they showed in recent weeks.
"We played all those games in Spring Training and never put anything together," Washington said. "We played all those games in the beginning of the year, we never really put anything together. It's time to start getting consistent. That's where we want to be."