Rangers 9, Astros 3
The Texas Rangers are getting used to the consistently good starts Colby Lewis has been giving them lately.
Lewis gave up three hits and walked one while striking out 10 in seven innings, Ian Kinsler had a three-run triple and Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer in a seven-run sixth inning, and the Rangers beat the Houston Astros 9-3 on Sunday.
Lewis (6-5), who won his second straight outing, has a 2.25 ERA while going 3-2 over his last six starts. He kept the Rangers in the game when the team couldn't take advantage of opportunities in earlier innings against Astros rookie pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who was making his major-league debut.
''He was outstanding,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Lewis. ''We (had) opportunities earlier against (Keuchel) . the kid made some pitches.
''But Colby stayed steadfast and kept us around.''
The Rangers won for the sixth time in seven games after limping into June with injuries and losing six of 10 on a road trip to start the month.
Kinsler had two hits and went 4 for 9 the last two games after an 0-for-14 stretch. He began the day hitting .227 in his previous 18 games.
''You have to keep grinding, keep putting the pressure on them and something good happens,'' Washington said. ''Today it was Kinsler. You just have to keep grinding.''
Beltre, who also singled in the eighth, has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games.
Carlos Lee, in his first game back after missing time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, went 2 for 4 with two RBIs as the Astros' designated hitter.
Lewis has struck out 84 and walked 12 in 96 innings, giving him a major league-leading strikeouts-to-walks ratio. His only walk Sunday, with one out in the fifth to Jason Castro, was followed by a two-base wild pitch. Matt Downs then blooped a single over a drawn-in infield on the right side to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.
Lewis followed by retiring the last eight batters he faced.
''Try to pound the strike zone and get some quick outs . that's my M.O.,'' said Lewis, who threw only 92 pitches. ''Overall, it was a good day. I was able to hang around for the offense to put up a big number.''
The right-hander got into a bind in the second with runners on first and third with no outs after giving up leadoff singles to Lee and Brian Bogusevic. He followed, though, by striking out Justin Maxwell and Castro and then got an inning-ending grounder from Downs.
''He takes the ball every fifth day,'' Kinsler said. ''We know we're going to get a quality start. He's the rock of our rotation.''
Keuchel gave up four hits and four walks in five-plus innings, leaving after giving up a leadoff single to Nelson Cruz in the sixth.
''Any time a guy can come in and do what he did in his first major league start, it's a success,'' Astros manager Brad Mills said. ''He had the bases loaded in the third and the fourth, and he walked four guys, but he battled through it.
''He made pitches when he had to.''
Fernando Rodriguez (1-7) replaced Keuchel in the sixth and was charged with four runs in two-thirds of an inning. He walked Mike Napoli and - after a sacrifice advanced the runners - Craig Gentry to load the bases. Kinsler followed with his bases-clearing triple.
After Elvis Andrus walked, Michael Young singled to drive in Kinsler, and Andrus scored when right fielder Bogusevic was slow getting the ball back to the infield. Beltre followed with his two-run shot into the left-field seats.
Andrus had an RBI single in the seventh to make it 8-1.
After Lee's two-run single in the eighth, Yorvit Torrealba's added run-scoring grounder in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: Rangers OF Josh Hamilton was back with the team on Sunday but remained out of the lineup while still recuperating from an intestinal virus that required a stay in the hospital. He is expected to play Monday in the first game of the Rangers' three-game series at San Diego, though manager Ron Washington said his status is day-to-day. ... Houston relievers had not allowed an inherited runner to score this season, stranding 16 before Cruz scored in the sixth. ... Houston pitching coach Doug Brocail was ejected in the top of the ninth inning - with his team batting - after charging out of the dugout to argue with home-plate umpire Dale Scott. ... Washington said RHP Neftali Feliz (sprained right elbow) is expected to begin a long-toss routine on Monday. The team will re-evaluate his status after a couple of weeks. ... Washington said the team has not determined how to use the rotation spot filled by rookie Justin Grimm on Saturday, which next comes up on Friday. There are a few options available, including calling up Roy Oswalt from Triple-A Round Rock.