The AL West-leading Rangers finish their 10-game trip Thursday night when Lewis goes for his first victory in nearly eight weeks.
Sparked by homers from Ian Kinsler(notes) and Nelson Cruz(notes), and five scoreless innings from Derek Holland(notes), the Rangers (76-63) snapped a five-game losing streak with Wednesdays’ 8-1 victory.
“When you’re not doing what you want to do, the mood can get somber,” said manager Ron Washington, whose team is 3-6 on the trip. “We just had to get back to doing what we can do. Tonight we did, and tonight we had some fun.”
With Holland posting his first victory since May 17, the Rangers won for the first time in eight matchups with Toronto (72-67), which managed just one homer after hitting seven in the first two games of the series.
“Derek and the other pitchers did a great job and we stopped them from putting up runs via the home run,” Washington said of the Blue Jays, who have a major league-high 216 homers. “I do believe that as long as we can keep them in the ballpark, we’re going to beat them.”
Lewis (9-12, 3.96 ERA), who is 0-7 with a 5.07 ERA since his last victory July 16, has been tagged for two homers in each of his last two starts. Looking to reach double digits in wins for the first time since 2003, the right-hander lasted a season-low 3 2-3 innings in Saturday’s 12-4 loss at Minnesota, surrendering a season-high nine runs and eight hits.
It was the second-most runs given up in his career.
“Left some pitches over the plate, and that’s what happens,” Lewis told the Rangers’ official website. “I feel great. There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel like I did opening day. It’s a situation where I didn’t really get very good calls when I needed to get calls.”
Lewis, who has an 8.46 ERA in his last four outings, matched a season high with four walks and yielded five runs in a 5-2 loss at Toronto on May 16. He is 1-3 with a 12.27 ERA in four career starts versus the Blue Jays.
Toronto finishes this four-game set with Shawn Hill(notes) making his first start since April 25, 2009, while with San Diego. The 29-year-old right-hander underwent his second Tommy John surgery last June, and Blue Jays right-hander Shawn Marcum can relate after the elbow procedure sidelined him in 2009.
“I want to say, like the first 18 months, it’s kind of a rocky road, up and down,” he told the Blue Jays’ official website. “You never know what you’re going to come out with that day.”
This will be the first time Hill has faced the Rangers. However, he’s not expected to get his first look at major league batting leader Josh Hamilton(notes), who is hitting .361 despite missing the last four games with bruised ribs.
Wells has three hits - including a homer - in 11 career at-bats against Lewis.