CLEVELAND (AP) Colby Lewis is doing just fine in his return to the major leagues.
Pressed into service because scheduled starter C.J. Wilson had food poisoning, Lewis tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and Nelson Cruz hit his AL-leading sixth home run Wednesday night as Texas beat the Cleveland Indians 6-2.
A crowd of 10,071, smallest at Progressive Field since the ballpark opened in 1994, saw the Indians make two errors, leave 12 runners on base, strike out 12 times and lose their fifth in a row.
Lewis (2-0), until beating Seattle on Friday, had been winless in the majors since April 7, 2004. He spent the past two seasons with Hiroshima of Japan’s Central League before re-signing with the Rangers in January.
“Lewis isn’t afraid to take the ball and he’s not afraid to pound the strike zone,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He gives you everything he has.”
The right-hander allowed two runs over 5 1-3 innings. Lewis made 37 pitches in the first inning, but got out of a bases-loaded jam and didn’t allow a hit until the third. He gave up three hits and four walks overall.
“I made a couple of good pitches to get out of it,” Lewis said. “I’m thankful for that. I’m not happy with the walks, but everything panned out.”
Washington told Lewis on Tuesday night to be ready in case Wilson could not go.
“It wasn’t that big of an adjustment,” Lewis said. “It was still the normal four days off and pitching the fifth.”
Neftali Feliz followed three relievers and worked 1 1-3 innings for his second save.
“We didn’t do a good job with runners on third base and less than two outs,” Indians manager Manny Acta said after Cleveland went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Cruz’s solo shot in the third inning made it 4-0 off Justin Masterson (0-1), on a pitch that was supposed to be a sinker, but, well, wasn’t.
“Cruz hit 33 last year,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “All he’s doing is showing it wasn’t a fluke.
Cruz is the first player with six homers after eight games since Alex Rodriguez did it for the New York Yankees at the start of the 2007 season.
Michael Brantley’s bases-loaded double off Dustin Nippert made it 4-2 in the sixth.
A fan touched the ball in foul territory down the right-field line, preventing Luis Valbuena from scoring on the play. Umpire Jim Wolf made the call and Acta argued with the crew for several minutes. Then Nippert got Asdrubal Cabrera on a groundout to end the inning.
“With two outs and the first baseman not holding the runner, he’s going to score easy,” Acta said. “The umpire said he saw it differently.”
Julio Borbon’s two-run single gave Texas a 6-2 lead in the seventh. He came in hitting .040 (1 for 25) and had two hits to raise his average to .103.
Josh Hamilton hit an RBI double in the first and Elvis Andrus’ two-out single made it 2-0 in the second.
A throwing error by Indians third baseman Jhonny Peralta led to two unearned runs in the third. On Friday, his throwing error led to three unearned runs in a 5-2 loss in Detroit.
“I’m happy with his defense,” Acta said. “He’s made some good plays, too.”
Masterson got nine of the Rangers 13 strikeouts, and gave up nine hits and two earned runs without a walk in six innings.
NOTES: In addition to Wilson, C Taylor Teagarden, RHP Darren O’Day and two Texas strength coaches felt the effects of food poisoning. … The previous low crowd at Progressive Field was 11,408 on April 21, 2009, against Kansas City. … Indians CF Grady Sizemore went 1 for 3 after missing two games with a sore back. He also walked and was hit by a pitch. … Andrus and Hamilton each had three of the Rangers’ 15 hits. … Texas has won seven straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings with Cleveland. … Cruz has nine extra-base hits and a Rangers record 12 RBIs in the first eight games. … When Texas OF David Murphy reached twice on catcher’s interference Sunday, it was only the sixth time it happened, according to STATS LLC, retrosheet.org and The Sporting News Record Book. Philadelphia’s Pat Corrales did it twice in 1965, joining Brooklyn’s Ben Geraghty (1936) and Seattle’s Dan Meyer (1977) and Bob Stinson (1979).