ARLINGTON, Texas — Ron Washington said before Saturday night’s game that Colby Lewis was the leader of the team’s pitching stuff.
The right-hander showed exactly why he has earned that title from his manager.
Lewis gave up one run in six innings and Texas snapped Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak, beating the Rays 7-2.
The Rays had a season-high 16 hits and hit a pair of home runs to beat the Rangers 8-4 in the series opener Friday night.
Lewis helped make sure Texas rebounded from that shaky performance.
“If we’re consistent on the mound, we’re going to win ballgames with our lineup,” said Lewis, who allowed three hits and three walks. “I just try to go out and throw zeroes and keep our team in the game.”
Josh Hamilton had a two-run single in the first and Adrian Beltre hit a three-run home run in the seventh to support Lewis (3-0), who improved to 4-0 in his career against the Rays.
Matt Joyce provided the only offense off Lewis, hitting a solo home run in the second.
The Rangers improved to 16-5 to equal their best 21-game start in club history. They are the only team in the majors who has not lost consecutive games this season.
“Colby did a great job,” Washington said. “We kept grinding and then we had a big inning.”
Rays starter Jeff Niemann (1-3) gave up three runs and three walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander has not pitched past the sixth inning in his four starts this season.
Tampa Bay had been on its longest winning streak in a single season since a seven-game run July 24-30, 2010.
“You’re not going to win every game,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m sorry folks, it just doesn’t happen that way.”
Ian Kinsler walked to start the game and advanced to third on Elvis Andrus’ double to right. Hamilton, who hit his American League-leading ninth home run Friday, lifted a single to shallow left to put the Rangers on top 2-0 in the first.
Hamilton went 2 for 3 and now leads the AL with 24 RBIs.
“They’ve been throwing me soft stuff,” Hamilton said of his early base hit. “He threw a heater. I was a little late, but it got the job done.”
Lewis, who gave up his first walk in 25 2-3 innings, made sure that early lead held up until Texas’ offense got rolling.
Other than Joyce’s home run, Evan Longoria’s 40-foot dribbler down the third-base line in the first was the only other hit off Lewis through five innings.
Carlos Pena singled leading off the sixth before he was erased on Longoria’s double play grounder.
Lewis, who had walked only one batter in his first four starts, struck out five. Texas’ opening day starter lowered his ERA to 1.93.
“It’s the same thing he’s had so much success doing all his career,” Joyce said. “It’s changing speeds, keeping hitters off-balance and really locating his pitches.”
Hamilton scored an unearned run in the sixth when shortstop Elliot Johnson mishandled Nelson Cruz’s grounder.
After Mitch Moreland scored on Jose Molina’s throwing error in the seventh, the Rays elected to intentionally walk Hamilton. That set the stage for Beltre’s three-run blast to right off reliever Burke Badenhop.
Tampa Bay’s bullpen had not given up an earned run in its last 16 innings coming into the game.
Notes: The Rangers signed RHP Justin Miller to a minor-league deal Saturday. Miller had just been released by the club Monday. … Longoria had an RBI double in the eighth. That gives him 105 RBIs in his last 119 games dating to last season. … The game drew a season-high 49,197 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It was the team’s fifth straight sellout and seventh of the season.