Rangers win fifth straight on Beltre's walk-off homer
Texas comes through after Lewis twirls gem vs. Wild Card-hopeful A's
ARLINGTON -- Maybe the Rangers need to get rid of all these rookies and get more mid-30-something players like Colby Lewis and Adrian Beltre. They certainly got it done on Thursday night.
Lewis was terrific for seven innings in his final start of the season and Beltre made it a winning night with a walk-off home run in the ninth that gave the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Athletics.
"The two old horses took us to the promised land tonight," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "We've had a lot of adversity this year, and when you watch Beltre and Lewis do their thing every day regardless of what happened around them, they showed up every day and were professional. There's so much value in that. These young kids are learning how to do it right."
Lewis and Beltre are the oldest players left on a team that is dominated by rookies. But that team has now won five straight games and 12 of its last 13.
"Tonight I was able to contribute," Beltre said. "That's my job, contribute to the young guys and try to keep up with them."
Beltre's home run came off Athletics reliever Luke Gregerson and was the 395th of his career and 19th of the season. Neftali Feliz was the winning pitcher with a scoreless top of the ninth. It was the Rangers' seventh walk-off win of the season.
"In that situation, I'm just looking for a pitch up in the zone and put a good swing on it," Beltre said. "I'm looking for something I can drive, hit it out or a gapper that can put myself in scoring position."
Lewis gave up just one run while not being involved in the decision. He allowed six hits and five walks but struck out seven and held the Athletics to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. His biggest hurdle was getting over the five walks and having the leadoff hitter reach base in six of seven innings.
"The windup was just trash tonight," Lewis said. "That's all I can say. I got guys out with it. The five walks were disappointing ... one of them ended up scoring. The stretch was definitely more comfortable, because I was in it all night."
Lewis finishes the season with a record of 10-14 and an ERA of 5.18 and is tied with Yu Darvish for the most wins on the Rangers.
Having made 29 starts and thrown 170 1/3 innings, Lewis is the only Rangers pitcher who will throw at least 162 qualifying innings, so he will also "lead" the Rangers with a 5.18 ERA. That is the highest in history by the Rangers' team leader. Kevin Millwood had a 5.16 ERA in 2007.
"Colby, what can you say about him?" Bogar said. "He just battled and battled and battled. That's why he's the workhorse. We've talked about it all season how inspirational he is. Tonight was another effort our young pitchers can build on and watch. It was fun to watch Colby go out there and fight through that."
Lewis' problems throwing from his windup only hurt him in the sixth inning. Brandon Moss led off with a walk, went to third on a one-out single by Jed Lowrie and scored on a safety-squeeze bunt by Geovany Soto.
"We just offensively aren't doing our job right now," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "That's a game we have to find a way to win. We had too many opportunities not to score more than one run on a squeeze. We have some guys in the middle of the lineup with some numbers and we've got to drive some runs in, we're not doing it."
The Rangers failed to get the leadoff batter on in any of their first six innings against Athletics starter Jason Hammel. But they were able to scratch out a run in the bottom of the sixth when Leonys Martin reached on a two-out bunt single, stole second and scored on a single by Elvis Andrus.