ARLINGTON, Texas – Temperatures at Globe Life Park didn’t appear unreasonably high Monday night. It was 92 degrees at game time, and Texas Rangers starter Colby Lewis wore the look of a man pitching in a desert.
Lewis didn’t have much to offer against the Tampa Bay Rays and was lifted after just five innings -- on the heels of his first complete game of the season.
While Lewis struggled with his control and velocity, his teammates were a lifeless bunch in the 7-0 loss to the Rays. It was the seventh time this season and second time this month the Rangers have been shut out.
Lewis gave up five runs, two earned, on four walks, five hits and his own throwing error. He threw 101 pitches, which is nine fewer than he threw in his complete-game shutout of the Chicago White Sox last week.
How it happened: Lewis escaped trouble in the opening inning by getting James Loney to bounce out to second with two on. The second inning is when Lewis just lost everything. It started with a leadoff walk, a no-no, and, following a Yunel Escobar single, that’s where the fun started ... depending on your point of view. Curt Casali laid a bunt toward the mound, and Lewis’ throw to third skipped past Adrian Beltre, which allowed Cole Figueroa to score. Lewis struck out the next batter, and Desmond Jennings reached on a fielder's choice, with Adam Rosales fielding the ball and throwing Escobar out at home. (A review upheld the play.) Ben Zobrist walked, and Matt Joyce singled in two runs for a 3-0 lead.
Zobrist added an RBI double, and Evan Longoria an RBI single in the fourth to push the lead to 4-0. The Rangers and Lewis were done after that.
Choo’s strikeouts: Leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo has struck out in nine consecutive games. On Monday, he struck out looking in the first and swinging in the eighth. On the season, Choo has struck out swinging 72 times. He had hit safely in the previous six games, which raised his batting average from .234 to .247. The hit streak ended Monday as he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
At least Beltre did something: Cleanup hitter Beltre reached base three times in four trips, which included two walks and a seventh-inning single. Beltre was hitting just .233 in the previous eight games. He was left stranded three times. He drew a leadoff walk in the second and a two-out free pass in the fourth. His single came with one out, but Smyly struck out the next two hitters.
Medical news: Right fielder Alex Rios' MRI revealed no structural damage on his right ankle. Rios, who didn’t play Monday due to a sprained ankle, is expected to play at some point during this four-game series. Second baseman Jurickson Profar, out for the season recovering from right-shoulder surgery, had an MRI show he’s now cleared to start a throwing program in a couple of weeks.