ARLINGTON (AP) – Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis’ timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Lewis retired the first 16 batters and finished with a four-hitter Tuesday night to boost a reeling Texas pitching staff and lead the Rangers to a 9-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lewis (5-5) struck out seven and walked one as Texas ended Arizona’s five-game winning streak. Lewis did not permit a runner until Aaron Hill hit a one-out single to left field on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth inning.
“We certainly needed everything he gave us to save the bullpen,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He was very efficient tonight, down in the zone, spotting his fastball, his changeup. He didn’t make many mistakes and he certainly gave us an outing we needed.”
Lewis’ start marked the most consecutive batters retired to start a game by a Rangers pitcher since Kenny Rogers pitched seven perfect innings on August 9, 2002, at Cleveland.
And his effort was much welcomed by Texas run-down pitching roster. The Rangers have put Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando all on the disabled list in the last three weeks. Ogando was placed on the 15-day DL on Tuesday with a strained right groin, two days after making a spot start for Holland.
Lewis threw 105 pitches, helping the Rangers start a stretch where they have 16 of their next 19 games at home. Texas was coming off a 10-game, 10-day road trip where it went 4-6. It was Lewis’ second-straight complete game, although the last ended in a loss last Wednesday at Oakland.
Arizona, playing in Arlington for the first time since 2006, did little against Lewis. Miguel Montero spoiled Lewis’ shutout bid with a home run in the eighth. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 3, ending his career-high 17-game hitting streak that was the longest active string in the NL. He had six home runs and nine doubles in that span.
“You want to go out there and continue to throw up innings and try to save the bullpen,” Lewis said. “With Alexi going down, that’s a big blow, but we’ve got guys coming up that can handle that for us. It’s one of those things you’ve got to do.”
Arizona starter Ian Kennedy (5-6) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, starting when Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff double in the first and later scored on a wild pitch. Kennedy arrived in Texas on a private plane earlier in the day after wife Allison gave birth to their second daughter, Renee Elaine, on Sunday.
Eight of the Rangers nine runs came with two outs, but it was the sixth inning when the Rangers broke it open with five runs. Michael Young doubled and David Murphy — starting in right field for an ill Nelson Cruz — hit a home run. Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry added RBI doubles and Kinsler singled in a run.
“It happened so fast,” Kennedy said. “I got out one of the best hitters (Josh Hamilton) in baseball, and then (Adrian) Beltre after him. After all, all of the hits happened on the second pitch, on the first pitch. I didn’t make the quality pitches as I did earlier in the game.”
Texas tacked on two more runs in the seventh. In the eighth, Elvis Andrus tripled and scored on Hamilton’s single.
The Rangers acquired right-hander Roy Oswalt on May 29 to help with their ailing pitching staff, and Oswalt made his third of what was expected to be at least four minor league starts on Tuesday night, this one for Double-A Frisco.
Oswalt pitched 3 1-3 innings, allowing three runs with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches — 55 strikes. Texas have yet to announce who will start Saturday against Houston.
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