Lewis allows six runs as Rangers drop opener
Right-hander goes 5 2/3 innings, contributes RBI single to own cause
WASHINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis wasn't in a mood to dissect Friday night's losing outing against the Nationals. There was no deep analysis after allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 9-2 loss.
"Two hits got five runs with two outs," Lewis said. "That's the ballgame. There's not much else to say."
His run-scoring single off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg never even came up in his brief postgame briefing.
Ian Desmond hit a three-run home run off Lewis in the fourth to erase the Rangers 2-0 lead. Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore's two-run double in the sixth ended Lewis' night. There was also an unearned run in the fifth. Lewis is now stuck in an alternating rut of good-start/bad-start, with a 4-4 record and a 5.44 ERA in nine starts after missing 21 months because of elbow and hip injuries.
"I thought he was throwing the ball well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He just made a couple of bad pitches. Each time he takes the mound is a new experience and he is strengthening himself as he goes along."
Strasburg, who has had his own physical issues to overcome throughout his Major League career, held the Rangers to two unearned runs in six innings and 88 pitches to get the victory. He allowed six hits and a walk with nine strikeouts as the Rangers went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
"He's not throwing 100 miles per hour anymore, but he throws hard and his changeup was great," Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. "He did a good job."
"Early in the first inning, he had some power behind his fastball and threw his breaking ball," Washington said. "Then we started swinging the bats better. The guy is a good pitcher. We had some opportunities, but we couldn't get a base hit. He's a quality pitcher."
Both runs off Strasburg came in the second inning, off his own error. Adrian Beltre led off with a double. Strasburg struck out the next two hitters, but then fumbled Leonys Martin's easy chopper for an error. That put runners at the corners and singles by Rougned Odor and Lewis gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
Lewis came out strong and retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced and took the two-run lead into the fourth. One-out singles by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche put runners at the corners. Lewis struck out Wilson Ramos, but Desmond hit a 1-0 fastball over the wall in right-center to put the Nationals ahead, 3-2.
"[The homer] was real big," Nationals outfielder Denard Span said. "We got behind early. The mood was like, 'Here we go again.' We have been falling behind lately. With this home run, it gave us some type of energy. After that, we just piled on."
Mitch Moreland's errant throw -- one of three errors by the Rangers on the night -- led to an unearned run in the fifth. Then Lewis gave up a couple more singles and a two-run double to Moore in the sixth.
"They got two hits when they needed to get hits," Lewis said. "That's when their runs came, with two outs. Next time, try not to let it happen. I felt like I had great stuff tonight. They just got hits when they needed too. That's it."
Lewis continues to show that he has no physical limitations. Consistency is what eludes him right now. He has alternated wins and loss over each of the last six starts. His ERA has been fluctuating back and forth since he returned to the rotation on April 14. His ERA has gone up after the odd-numbered starts and gone down after the even ones.
"I guess I need to string some good ones together," Lewis said.