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Ian Casselberry

Captain Consistency: Colby Lewis comes up big again for Rangers

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For all the attention and praise Cliff Lee(notes) has received this postseason — at least until he finally displayed his mortality in Game 1 of the World Series — it turns out that Colby Lewis(notes) may have been the right guy to pitch for the Texas Rangers in a must-win win game.

Coming into Saturday's Game 3, Lewis had allowed only three runs in his three postseason starts, averaging a strikeout per inning. Right-handed batters also hit just .216 against him this season, which would surely help against a San Francisco Giants' lineup whose right-handed bats have been lethal in the first two games of this series.

In the first inning, however, it appeared the Giants were going to make Lewis work. He threw 20 pitches, allowing a single to Freddy Sanchez(notes) and walk to Buster Posey(notes). But Lewis struck out Pat Burrell(notes) (who looks absolutely lost at the plate right now), wiping out a chance for San Francisco to take an early lead.

After dodging trouble, Lewis locked in for the rest of the Rangers' big 4-2 victory, allowing only two runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings of work.

What made the difference for Lewis from that first inning and the rest of the game?

Here's what he said afterward:

"My off-speed stuff. I felt like I was commanding my off-speed stuff a little bit better. I was having a tough time trying to get the fastball in to lefties. But I was able to command the slider a little bit and kept them off balance."

The Giants finally broke through against Lewis with solo home runs from Cody Ross(notes) and Andres Torres(notes) in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. But he was able to keep the damage to a minimum by not allowing anyone else on base.

By the time Darren O'Day(notes) took over for him, Lewis had given the Rangers exactly the start they needed. He allowed only two runs and five hits over 7 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Lewis also held Juan Uribe(notes) and Edgar Renteria(notes), who swung the biggest bats for the Giants in Games 1 and 2, to a combined 0-for-7.

If this World Series goes to a seventh game, and the Rangers hold to their current starting rotation, Lewis will pitch for the Rangers in the most important game of their season. Considering that he also pitched the Game 6 clincher against the Yankees in the ALCS, he may just be the guy the Rangers want on the mound with a championship at stake.

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