Lewis gets first 10-K game since surgeries

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Every time Colby Lewis takes the mound for the Texas Rangers, it is a testament of his will to come back from surgeries on his elbow and hip over the past two years.

And even though Lewis finished on the losing end of Saturday night’s 5-4 score against the Los Angeles Angels, the 35-year-old registered a landmark 10 strikeouts against the new AL West co-leaders.

It marks the 11th time in Lewis' career but the first time since 2012 -- before the surgeries caused him to miss the entire 2013 season -- that he reached double digits in strikeouts.

The right-hander still relies on a fastball/slider combination, but he does not want to read too much into 10 strikeouts, even though they came in only six innings.

"I knew I had really good stuff tonight," Lewis said. "A couple of times early, I left balls over the middle of the plate. After the first couple of innings, I felt like I started to make my pitches."

It was not the RBI double by ninth-place hitter Chris Iannetta or solo home runs by Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick that caused Lewis the most damage. Instead, it was a broken-bat flare by Kole Calhoun with the bases loaded and two out in the fourth, which grew the Angels' lead to 5-0.

"I felt like I made a decent pitch," Lewis said. "It was a slider. Calhoun came out hacking and broke his bat. Credit to him. He's been hitting well against us all season."

On July 10, when Lewis most recently faced the Angels at Globe Life Park, Los Angeles scored 13 runs off him in 2⅓ innings.

"Everybody wants to make a big deal about that game, but I don't think that way," he said. "I take it day-by-day, and I don't care about what happened yesterday."

Denying Lewis another shot at the Angels was not something Rangers manager Ron Washington considered.

"We believe in Colby," Washington said in his pregame news conference. "As long as he’s healthy, he's going to get the ball."

Washington's assessment of Lewis after the game was positive.

"I thought he pitched a good game," the manager said. "He kept us in the game. There were a couple of instances when he didn't make the pitch he wanted to make. He tried to get the ball in on Albert, and he didn't make it in."

In the wake of injuries that have decimated the Rangers pitching staff this season, Lewis stands out as the poster boy for exceeding expectations regarding health issues.

Not even a tough one-run loss can keep him from overlooking that.

"God has blessed me and allowed me to come back," Lewis said. "I think about that every time I go out there."