Game thoughts: Rangers cruise, 7-1

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Here are a few thoughts on the Rangers' 7-1 win, which ended a two-game losing skid. Elvis Andrus made some big plays after a rough start and Colby Lewis continued his dominance against the Mariners. You can click here for a replay of Tuesday's in-game chat. Some thoughts (we'll have Ranger Reax as soon we get back from the clubhouse):

* Colby Lewis loves pitching against the Mariners this season. He's now 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA (which actually went up despite one run allowed in seven innings) with 12 hits allowed in 23 innings. Wow. Lewis didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday, but he managed to get out of some trouble and give the Rangers innings, something they needed from their starter. One day after Scott Feldman threw 120 pitches and didn't get through six, Lewis threw 119 and completed seven. He also earned the win, his first since May 21. In fact, Lewis had lost four of his last five decisions before Tuesday night. Lewis walked three batters and dealt with leadoff batters on base in four of his seven innings, but he made critical pitches that led to Seattle going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position against him. Lewis earned a standing ovation from the crowd when he left. He doesn't give up many hits and allowed just four on Tuesday, half of those off the bat of catcher Rob Johnson.

* It was an interesting game for Elvis Andrus. He struggled defensively to start and then bounced back with a nice play in the field (that saved a run and may have altered momentum) and a big two-out hit. The details:

-- He had a bad throw on a routine play in the third, throwing high and wide of first base with Rob Johnson, not a fast runner, heading down the line. An inning later, Andrus gloved a ground ball and stepped on second for what should have been the start of an inning-ending double play. But Andrus bobbled on the transition from his glove to hand and Johnson responded with an RBI single. The run was earned because there was no error.

-- Andrus, though, bounced back in the sixth. Josh Wilson, with two outs and a runner at third, hit a ground ball in the hole that Andrus had to backhand and then throw, off-balance, to first to get him. It was a close play, but he got the runner and saved a run. It was a typical Andrus web gem and it came at an important time with the score at 2-1.

-- He made his presence felt at the plate with a two-RBI double in the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs against Felix Hernandez, Andrus hit a double to score Justin Smoak and Max Ramirez. The hit turned a 3-1 game into a 5-1 contest.

* Josh Hamilton sure did deliver with two outs and two strikes in the first. Hamilton hit a double to the gap in left-center, scoring Elvis Andrus and Michael Young (who got on base via consecutive singles) to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead on Felix Hernandez. Hamilton has been impressive the last few weeks, raising his average to .300. Whether it was eliminating the toe tap in Chicago or that he's just more and more comfortable, Hamilton is having productive at-bats.

* The Mariners put the first two runners on base in the third, but the lead runner was thrown out on what was called a caught stealing. Rob Johnson, who doesn't run fast, was the lead runner, so it's likely the Mariners called a hit and run (or bunt and run) and Chone Figgins missed it. Either way, it helped Colby Lewis get out of what could have been a tough inning.

* I know we've talked about this a lot, but Justin Smoak continues to have improved plate appearances. Smoak drew walks in the second and fourth. Then, with runners on the corners in the sixth, Smoak hit an 0-2 fastball (95 mph) to right field for an RBI single. Hernandez, despite the favorable count, put one in a spot where Smoak could hit hit. Smoak is now 3-for-9 this season on 0-2 counts. BTW, he had a nice pick on an Andrus throw in the eighth. That was something he struggled with earlier this season. His entire game is improving.