Colby Lewis was brilliant, the lineup strung together a few timely hits, and the Rangers beat the Angels 4-2 on Friday night.
- Cobra recorded a season-high 9 strikeouts, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 7.2 IP. It's the 15th time in 20 starts Lewis has gone at least 6 innings, and the best I've personally seen him look all year.
The game-plan appeared pretty straightforward throughout the contest, as Lewis issued a heavy dosage of off-speed stuff; per Brooks Baseball, 62 of Lewis's 103 pitches (60%) came of the non-fastball variety, with 52 (about 50%) classified as sliders. Essentially, he threw the same pitch about half the time -- breaking down and away from the righties, down and in to the lefties -- until the Angels proved they could handle it, and for the most part, they didn't. The only run they physically scored off Colby was a solo HR from Mike Trout on a belt high fastball.
- In the top of the 5th, fresh off Trout giving the Halos a 1-0 lead, the Rangers countered. Mitch Moreland led off the inning by flying out; with one out, Josh Hamilton doubled down the right field line. Then, Elvis Andrus hit a little duck-snort to shallow center, out of reach of the converging shortstop (Erick Aybar) and center fielder (Trout); Hamilton, not knowing whether the ball was going to be caught, was only able to advance to third.
With runners at 1st and 3rd with one out and Shin-Soo Choo at the plate, the game suddenly (and briefly) came to a halt. Rookie starter Nick Tropeano became completely preoccupied with Andrus at 1st -- who was taking a strong lead -- and wound up throwing over three times to keep Elvis honest, plus a pitch out.
With the count 1-1 to Choo, Tropeano finally pressed his luck. On his 4th pickoff attempt, he threw the ball away (aided by a poor effort at 1st from CJ Cron), allowing Hamilton to score from 3rd and Elvis to reach there. Shin-Soo promptly doubled to right, making it 2-1, and scored on the ensuing Robinson Chirinos single.
With some grasp on the game, Colby Lewis didn't run into trouble until the 6th, when the Angels put men on 1st and 2nd with nobody out (on infield singles, no less), and the middle of the order coming up. It wasn't looking good.
Then, almost as if a flashback to the postseason in 2010 and '11, Cobra shut the door. Each of Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols went down on strikes, and none looked like they had a chance. Lewis was in control.
-The Rangers added an insurance run in the 7th on a Robby Chirinos safety squeeze, and Trout drove in a run off Keone Kela in the bottom of the 8th.
- Shawn Tolleson converted on his 16th save in 17 opportunities.
- I'll be in Anaheim tonight to see Yovani Gallardo square off against Hector Santiago.