Colby Lewis pitches better, still loses

NEW YORK -- One inning is all it took for Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis to lose it all.

Going into the fifth, Lewis had looked very good. He allowed just one run on two hits and he hit one batter on the pinkie.

Then the fifth.

"Came out of my mechanics a little bit," Lewis said after the Rangers' 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Thursday extended their losing streak to three games.

With the score tied, Lewis walked Ichiro Suzuki to start the inning. Francisco Cervelli hit a double down the left-field line, and Ichiro used his speed to score from first. Brendan Ryan bunted Cervelli to third and, after a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner drove in Cervelli with a sacrifice fly to left.

When the inning was over, Lewis had walked three and given up two runs on just one hit; he entered the dugout down 3-1.

"The fifth, just the fifth," manager Ron Washington said of Lewis' one bad inning. "He just got a little light with his command right there, and he came back in the sixth and got 1-2-3 and got the first out in the seventh."

Lewis was done after throwing 87 pitches and should be proud of how he's handled himself in the second half of the year.

On July 10, Lewis allowed a franchise-record 13 runs while giving up 13 hits in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Lewis didn't let that derail his season.

Lewis pitched well to start the second half by going five innings in Toronto and allowing just two runs on eight hits on July 19. Lewis threw 106 pitches and left trailing just 2-0. The Rangers lost 4-1, but the righty said he felt good about his performance.

He just wants to add to it in the second half.

"I definitely feel like my body is starting to come to me," Lewis said. "It was a situation where I missed early, my fastball, they swung the bat, and I was able to mix my pitches early in the count and I was able to go deeper in the ballgame. It's just one of those things, other than a couple of walks."

In four days here, Texas' starting pitching wasn't an issue. Who knows what would have happened if Joakim Soria hadn't blown that save on Tuesday night, or if the Yankee Stadium grounds crew hadn't failed to get the tarp on the field Wednesday? The Rangers, instead of losing three of four to the Yankees, might have at worst a split of this four-game trip. Instead, all they have is more misery.

Lewis hopes he can change course in the final two months of the season.

"I felt I was really strong as the year has gone on," Lewis said "I've gotten stronger, which is great. But August 26, it will be a year out from getting a hip replaced, and I'm looking forward to the second half and helping this ballclub win and looking forward to the future."