Elder statement: Lewis, Beltre lead the way
OAKLAND -- The old guys were at their vintage best at what they do and the Rangers have their first win of the season.
Colby Lewis pitched six scoreless innings and third baseman Adrian Beltre helped him with two big defensive plays in the first. With the two oldest players on the team doing their thing, the Rangers defeated the Athletics, 3-1, on Tuesday night.
They did so on a night when Beltre celebrated his 36th birthday.
"Not bad for an old man," Beltre said.
"It was his birthday, and he came up with the huge play," said Lewis. "I love watching him play third."
Lewis, who won't turn 36 until August, took advantage of Beltre's defense by earning his first victory. After getting out of the first, Lewis was smooth over the next five innings and left with a 3-1 lead.
"He was amazing," catcher Carlos Corporan said. "He was spotting every pitch, using his slider early and then changing to his curve later. He was a different pitcher every inning. All of his pitches were working."
Lewis allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out four. He threw 93 pitches and is now 9-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 career games against the Athletics.
Getting out of the first inning might have made all the difference. Sam Fuld led off with a dribbler to the right side. Lewis tried to make a play off the mound, but couldn't do it. Fuld reached on an infield single.
Lewis then walked Eric Sogard on four pitches. When Lewis threw two balls to Ben Zobrist, pitching coach Mike Maddux and trainer Kevin Harmon went to the mound to make sure Lewis hadn't hurt himself chasing the dribbler.
Lewis threw one more ball to Zobrist, got an 3-0 fastball for a strike and then induced a high pop down the left-field line. Left fielder Ryan Rua and shortstop Elvis Andrus, playing Zobrist to pull, had no chance. But Beltre raced down the line and made a basket catch with his back to the plate.
"I knew those guys were playing over with the left-hander and I had to go get it," Beltre said. "I saw the ball and I just went and got it."
Billy Butler followed with a sharp grounder that Beltre picked up going to his left and turned into an inning-ending double play.
"It wasn't that tough," Beltre said. "Slow runner, I knew I had time. I just wanted to make sure I got the first out."
"Huge plays by the birthday boy," Lewis said. "It kind of locked me in. After that I told myself I needed to start making pitches. My fastball was hit and miss. Sometimes you have to find a way to mix in other pitches."