Lewis, the veteran right-hander, has emerged as the rock for the Rangers' rotation. Tuesday night, against the team with the best record in baseball, Lewis held the Los Angeles Angels to three runs on five hits in seven-plus innings of work in a 9-3 loss.
With Yu Darvish out for the season with elbow inflammation and Derek Holland just getting back from left knee surgery, Lewis is the stabilizing force for the rotation, at least in the second half of the season.
Lewis (9-13) morphed into the team leader in innings pitched (151.1) and at some point should take over the win total from Darvish (10).
While the Rangers average 5.8 runs per game for Lewis, the hitters have failed to produce enough for him in recent starts.
In five of his past six starts, the Rangers have scored more than three runs twice. They scored 12 runs in a victory at Seattle on Aug. 27 and three in a loss at Kansas City on Sept. 1.
Adrian Beltre’s solo shot in the fourth reduced a two-run deficit to one, but it was all the Rangers could give Lewis, when he deserved so much more.
How it happened: Lewis made one mistake on the evening: a high fastball belted for a home run to right by Kole Calhoun for a 1-0 lead. The Angels picked up the second run when right fielder Michael Choice couldn’t hold on to a deep fly ball by David Freese to start the fourth. The two-base error was costly because Erick Aybar moved the runner over on a ground out and Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly scored Freese for a 2-0 lead. Beltre’s homer in the fourth cut the lead to 2-1. The Angels added another run when Mike Trout’s triple drove in Collin Cowgill in the eighth for a 3-1 edge.
The game got out of hand when the Angels sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the eighth inning against two relief pitchers.
What this win means for the Angels: The Angels tied a season high with their sixth consecutive victory and are now just a victory away from reaching 90. The Angels haven’t won 90 games since 2009 (97-65). Against the Rangers, the Angels have won 10 of the past 11 meetings and seven of eight on the road.
Debut for Rodriguez: Guilder Rodriguez, 31, made his big league debut after 14 years (1,095 games) in the minor leagues. Rodriguez made a diving stop off a Calhoun liner in the third and struck out three times at the plate. With Rodriguez starting, it extends the Rangers' major league record for players used to 64. Rodriguez also became the 23rd rookie used, which leads the league in players who made their big league debuts (16).