Texas manager Ron Washington is hoping his pitcher’s performance on Sunday means good things are ahead for his team.
Lewis allowed four hits in eight-plus innings and drove in two runs, and the Rangers took a five-run lead in the first inning before coasting to a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros.
It was the first time a Rangers pitcher had driven in any runs since Lewis also drove in two in a win over Milwaukee on June 13, 2010, and he’s the only Rangers pitcher with an RBI since 2006.
“It was awesome,” said Washington of Lewis, who also had a single in the fifth. “The last time he did that we went on an 11-game winning streak, so I hope that’s a sign.”
Lewis (4-3) capped the Rangers’ first-inning scoring with a bases-loaded, two-out single to center field to score two.
“That was a huge hit and it did a lot for his confidence,” Washington said.
“I always like playing on the National League side and getting some hits in and hacks in, or whatever you want to call it,” Lewis said. “It was a lot of fun. It keeps me more involved. I love the National League side of things.”
His performance marked the eighth time an AL pitcher has had two hits and two RBI since interleague play began in 1997. He has two of those after also collecting two hits in his other two-RBI game in 2010.
Lewis didn’t allow a run until Jed Lowrie’s solo shot to right field to start the ninth. He was replaced by Robbie Ross, who allowed one hit. It was the longest outing of the season for Lewis, who walked one and struck out six.
“He was quite sharp today,” Washington said. “He had a good breaking ball working, and he was able to spot his fastball and he had a real good changeup.”
The performance allowed Lewis to bounce back from a string of three straight losses, where he allowed a combined 19 runs and 23 hits.
“Things didn’t go my way in the last couple of starts, so I just wanted to bounce back and go deep into the game,” he said.
David Murphy added a solo home run in the fifth inning, a day after hitting his first career inside-the-park homer for Texas.
Lyles (0-1) yielded nine hits and six runs—both season highs—in five innings in his third start. The 21-year-old, who has spent most of the season in Triple-A, walked three and struck out six.
“He couldn’t get a feel for the ball,” Houston manager Brad Mills said. “He had problems locating his pitches in that first inning.”
Jose Altuve hit a leadoff double for the Astros before Lewis walked Carlos Lee with two outs. Lewis retired the next nine Astros after that, and Houston didn’t have another baserunner until a single by Travis Buck with two outs in the fourth. But Lewis retired Chris Johnson to end that inning.
Lewis retired the side in the fifth before Altuve singled to start the sixth. He sent down the next nine Astros before he was chased by Lowrie’s homer.
Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus hit consecutive singles in the first inning before Kinsler scored on the sacrifice fly by Hamilton. Michael Young hit a two-out double before Lyles intentionally walked Murphy to load the bases.
The walk backfired when Cruz knocked a line drive single to left field to score two and push the lead to 3-0.
Lyles then plunked Yorvit Torrealba before the two-RBI single by Lewis.
Kinsler grounded out to end the inning.
There was some confusion in the second inning when Young was batting with two out and two strikes. Young took a pitch for a strike, but the home plate umpire thought it was only strike two. After Lee and Lyles protested, holding up three fingers, he asked the first base umpire and realized it was the third strike and patted Young on the shoulder to leave.
Cruz singled in the ninth inning on a fly ball to center field, but was out when he passed Young on the basepath as Young headed back to first.
NOTES: Texas Japanese star Yu Darvish will face Seattle for the second time on Monday when he opposes right-hander Felix Hernandez. Darvish yielded eight hits, five runs and four walks in 5 2-3 innings in an 11-5 win in his major league debut against the Mariners on April 9. “Although it is my second time facing those guys, my first time I really wasn’t able to display the type of pitching that I wanted to,” Darvish, who allowed four runs in the first inning before settling down, said through a translator. “But I think this time I’ll probably have a better approach in pitching to these guys.”… Houston CF Jordan Schafer was doing much better on Sunday, a day after injuring his leg avoiding a collision in center field. Mills said he has a muscle strain on his lower right leg and expects him to return by Wednesday. … Houston’s Bud Norris is set to pitch against Matt Garza when the Astros and Cubs open a three-game series Monday.