ARLINGTON -- The troubled Rangers bullpen couldn't hold a lead late. Dave Bush gave up one run, but the Rangers got that run back and were up two heading into the ninth with Neftali Feliz on the mound. But he didn't have it on Wednesday and blew the save, giving up four runs. It was a kick-in-the-gut loss that prevented the Rangers from sweeping. The Nationals beat the Mariners, so Texas remains two games up in the AL West. Some quick thoughts (more from the clubhouse later):
* Things unraveled in the ninth. With the Rangers up 3-1, Feliz came in to close the game. And he couldn't do it. Feliz told manager Ron Washington before the game that despite throwing 35 pitches in two innings of work in a tie game Tuesday that he felt good and could pitch. He was still hitting 96 mph, but the location just wasn't there. Carlos Lee doubled and scored on Chris Johnson's double. Houston tied the score when catcher Yorvit Torrealba let a fastball go off his glove and to the backstop. He was charged with a passed ball and Johnson scored. Moments later, pinch hitter Matt Downs blasted one to left to give the Astros a 5-3 lead.
* It came right after the Rangers scored an insurance run in the eighth when Michael Young doubled. But the Rangers then had runners at second and third and one out and couldn't get any additional runs.
* Interestingly, the only other time in Feliz's career that he's pitched the day after a two-inning appearance was Aug. 11, 2010 against the Yankees. And he blew a save that day too, allowing two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning.
* Josh Hamilton grabbed the back of his left leg as he went into third base in the eighth. He stayed in the game and after the Rangers took a 3-1 lead, he didn't try to score on a ground ball (wonder if the hamstring played a part in that decision).
* Colby Lewis had his fastball command working and took advantage of a low strike zone to baffle the Astros hitters. Lewis moved his fastball all around the zone and then mixed in some good off-speed stuff to the tune of eight strikeouts and plenty of routine outs.
* This is the second straight solid outing for Lewis. He gave up two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings in Atlanta over the weekend. Before these last two starts, Lewis had struggled, allowing a combined 15 runs on 17 hits in a total of 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers and Twins. But that Lewis wasn't anywhere near Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday. He was in control.
* Nelson Cruz absolutely blistered a Myers pitch for a home run to left in the fifth inning. The ball hit the top of the scoreboard, just at the bottom of the windows on the restaurant out there. In other words: He crushed it. The announced distance here at the park was 415 feet (it is shorter to left field), but it sure seemed longer. ESPN's Home Run Tracker (thanks to ESPN Stats & Information) has it at 440 feet. It was Cruz's 17th homer in 58 games. That's pretty impressive. The homer was the 20th allowed by Myers, who now leads the majors. He was tied with Lewis at 19 before the game started.
* Ian Kinsler made things happen with his feet in the first inning. After leading off with a single up the middle, Kinsler stole second off starter Brett Myers (he stole it easily). He went to third on Josh Hamilton's ground out to second and then scored when Myers threw a wild pitch to Adrian Beltre. The wild pitch was a strike as Beltre swung at it, but it went to the backstop and Kinsler alertly scored to give the Rangers an early lead.
* Lewis survived two straight innings of having the leadoff batter on base. He walked Brett Wallace to start the second, but got the next three hitters (Nos. 6-8) -- two of them via strikeout. Lewis then allowed a double to Jeff Keppinger to start the fourth, yet worked out of that jam. He struck out Carlos Lee on a low fastball on a call that Lee did not like (he argued with home plate umpire Tim Timmons) and got Wallace on a ground ball and Chris Johnson on a pop-up.
* Young, playing third for the first time since spring training, got two ground balls his way and made both plays. He also had a single in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Young is hitting .292 (14-for-48) with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs during the streak.
* Before the seventh inning, manager Ron Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddux and assistant athletic trainer Kevin Harmon checked on Lewis, who had a stiff neck. He threw some warmup pitches and stayed in the game. But the Rangers had Dave Bush and Arthur Rhodes warming up just prior to the inning. After getting through the seventh, Lewis was still talking about it with Washington and head athletic trainer Jamie Reed in the dugout and he did not return for the eighth. Bush came in to pitch for him.
* Bush pitching in a 2\two-run game in the eighth is certainly odd. The Rangers didn't want to pitch Yoshinori Tateyama or Mark Lowe, wanting both to get a break. Darren Oliver did warm up, but Washington went with Bush. He allowed two singles to start the inning, but got a double-play (which scored a run) and a pop-up in foul ground to the catcher to end the frame. But having to throw Bush shows the overall state of this pen. That's not meant as a shot at Bush, but he's not supposed to be an eighth-inning setup man.
* Andres Blanco, making a rare start to give Elvis Andrus a break, made an Elvis-like play by leaping high to his right and snagging a liner off the bat of Brett Wallace to start the seventh. He also started a 6-3 double play in the eighth, stepping on second after getting the ground ball. He also made a nice diving stop in the ninth inning. He played well.
* Nolan Ryan continued his perfect mark in the Legends Race, even stopping to say hello to the real Ryan on his way to the finish line and a victory.