Lewis’ pitching performance leads Rangers in bounce-back win over Yankees

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis works against the New York Yankees in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Arlington, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez/AP

ARLINGTON, Texas – Before the Rangers could officially get excited about getting Cole Hamels, they had to take care of some unfinished business with the Yankees on Wednesday night.

The Rangers needed a game to wash away the odor of Tuesday’s 21-5 loss to New York and they got it with a 5-2 win.

"These guys have been resilient all year long, really," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Coming back off a tough night last night, we’ve talked about it, they’ve learned how to wash things off. They’ve been down before."

Unlike the previous drubbing, when the Rangers never got another hit after posting a 5-0 lead, the Rangers’ hitters responded after the Yankees scored and their pitchers got clutch outs.

Chief among those pitchers was starter Colby Lewis, who allowed just two runs over six innings. While much of the buzz in Globe Life Park was about the unannounced trade for Hamels, Lewis went about giving a trademark gritty performance.

Lewis gave up both of his runs in the second inning when Carlos Beltran led off with a homer. After two outs, the Yankees then strung together three hits to plate another run and a 2-0 lead.

But that would be all that Lewis would allow as the veteran consistently worked out of potential trouble.

"Colby probably didn’t have his best stuff, but Colby’s probably best when he doesn’t have his best stuff," Banister said. "I think he stays focused."

Lewis (11-4) threw 49 pitches in the first two innings before settling inning. He threw 53 pitches over his next four innings.

"The first couple of innings, I didn’t feel like my stuff was as sharp as it was in the latter innings," Lewis said. "I was able to get some quick outs and pitch into the sixth and get through it."

After New York posted its 2-0 lead, the Rangers responded with three runs in the next half-inning. The rally started with an RBI single by Josh Hamilton, who also drove in a run in the seventh to give the Rangers a three-run advantage.

The first single broke an eight-game drought without an RBI for Hamilton.

"It was a confidence-builder for him, an at-bat that he’s been looking for," Banister said. "He talked before the game about some adjustments that he’d made and how good he felt in batting practice. So I knew that he was confident going into the game and it showed up for him."

The Rangers’ bullpen shutout the Yankees over the final three innings with Keone Kela, Tanner Scheppers and Shawn Tolleson each tossing a scoreless inning. Tolleson earned his 18th save by throwing just nine pitches in the ninth, all for strikes.

The Rangers handed Masahiro Tanaka his fourth loss against seven wins in a much-needed bounce-back performance.

"Yesterday was kind of weird, just an overall weird game," Lewis said. "I feel like this was what this team has kind of done in the past, teams that I’ve been with with the Rangers that don’t really worry about what happened last night. We went out there and rolled out and put some good at-bats together against Tanaka."

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire

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