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Colby Lewis struggles, but grinds through 6

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite a rough start to the night, Rangers starter Colby Lewis eventually settled down and kept his team in the game as the Rangers beat the Angels, 9-5, to take a three-game lead in the AL West.

Things did not start well for Lewis. He gave up five runs, four of those in the first three innings. He allowed a double to Howie Kendrick, who then scored on Bobby Abreu's single to right-center field in the first. Erick Aybar tripled to right field with one out in the second inning and then scored on Jeff Mathis' single. The Angels scored two more runs off Lewis in the third inning thanks to a couple of doubles.

But with Jered Weaver not quite as sharp as usual on short rest and in the heat, Lewis was able to settle down enough to keep the game close. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

The lone exception came with Kendrick's solo shot that put the Angels ahead 5-4 in the fifth. It was Lewis' AL-leading 31st homer allowed. That appeared to take the momentum away from the Rangers, who had fought back to tie the score. But Texas scored four runs in the seventh to take the lead on their way to a victory.

"The last three innings or so I felt like everything was working pretty good," Lewis said after the no-decision. "Tonight is like any other night for me. Just go out and try to get the quality start."

Lewis wasn't able to get the quality start because too many pitches were left up in the zone. He could feel himself making a mechanical mistake and made an adjustment.

"I have to keep everything balanced over the rubber, and I felt like when I was taking my sign I was

just kind of straight up and down," Lewis said. "And then I was just getting on my heels a little bit and that's why my arm was late and fastball was up. But I made the adjustment and worked down the zone and tried to keep us as close as possible.

"Like I said, the big story is these guys putting up these runs tonight. That's what's huge and everybody talked about if we lose [they] are one game back and if we win we are three games up. We're definitely in a good position now."

Lewis is slated to start again Saturday at Fenway Park in a key series against the Red Sox.