Slumping offense gives Lewis no margin for error
Rangers starter takes 1-0 lead into sixth, but gets no support
ANAHEIM -- Rangers starter Colby Lewis had a 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning. Rangers manager Jeff Banister thought his slumping offense should have given Lewis a bigger lead, but they twice were unable to get a runner home from third with less than two outs.
"If we get those runs in, it separates us and gives us more room," Banister said.
Instead Lewis had little margin for error and the Angels took advantage of it. The Angels scored three runs in the inning and held on for a 4-1 victory on Saturday night.
"We just have to keep going out and playing hard and put ourselves in a situation to score runs," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "It's just one of those dry spells. Colby pitched a great game. We just have to keep going out there and grinding those at-bats."
Lewis retired 14 of the first 17 batters he faced. With the help of a terrific first-inning catch by Adrian Beltre, which ended up as a double play, Lewis took a two-hit shutout into the sixth. But he had just one run to work with as the Rangers went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position through six innings.
Lewis got ahead 0-2 on Grant Green, the Angels No. 9 hitter, but then gave up a leadoff single. Kole Calhoun grounded a first-pitch single through the right side and Mike Trout drew a full-count walk to load the bases.
"I'm frustrated at myself for allowing that leadoff hit," Lewis said. "Then the ambush by Calhoun. Then you have to go into pitching mode. In a ballgame like that, your pitch count really goes up. You are always worried about the next pitch. In a close ballgame you always throw more pitches than you should."
The walk to Trout left the bases loaded with Albert Pujols and David Freese coming to the plate. Banister brought in rookie reliever Roman Mendez in an attempt to cut short the Angels' rally. Lewis was done after 94 pitches.
"I felt like Colby had given us enough," Banister said. "He put zeros on the board. I felt like he pitched well. He pitched well enough that if we had given him more runs, it would have been a different outcome."
Lewis agreed it was the right move.
"You never want to come out of a game," Lewis said. "That's a starter's mentality. I know the situation [Banister] was in, you have Pujols and you want to give him a different look. It is what it is … he made the right move."
Pujols singled home one run, although center fielder Leonys Martin threw out Calhoun trying to score. Mendez got Freese on a foul pop but walked Erick Aybar to load the bases. C.J. Cron then lined a two-run single to center on a ball that jarred loose from Martin's glove as he tried to make a catch at his knees.
"The guy made a fantastic throw to get the runner out at the plate," Banister said. "It was a ball that was barreled, he came in straight in, it was a challenging catch. He'll come up with those from time to time. Some center fielders don't even come close to it."
Banister confirmed that Wandy Rodriguez will get another start and pitch Wednesday against the Mariners. He allowed one run in five innings against the Angels on Friday. The Rangers have been trying to find a fifth starter to fill Derek Holland's spot in the rotation.