The Sports Xchange

By John Henry, The Sports Xchange

Lewis pitches Rangers to 3-2 win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the first time since returning from a two-year recovery from an arm injury and hip replacement, an older Colby Lewis looked more like the old Colby Lewis.

The Texas Rangers right-hander retired the last 13 hitters he faced in his strongest outing of the season and Texas took two of three games from the New York Yankees with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

Lewis (7-8) gave up solo home runs in the first and third innings but otherwise was unscathed, setting down 17 of the last 19 batters he faced.

He gave up two runs, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings for Texas (43-65), which won its first series in more than a month.

Right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save in three opportunities this season.

"As the weeks have transitioned into the second half, every time I take the mound I feel like I'm getting stronger," said Lewis, who will be 35 on Saturday and made his 19th start of the season. "I think it was definitely an adjustment period getting used to a prosthetic hip."

A night after the teams combined to score 23 runs, pitching took over.

The Rangers scored all of their runs in the first inning. Shortstop Elvis Andrus had a run-scoring double followed by RBI base hits from third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Leonys Martin. Andrus' double drove in designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo, who singled to lead off, and Beltre and Martin followed with run-scoring base hits.

Beltre, who has had a hit, run and RBI in four consecutive games, and left fielder Jim Adduci both went 2-for-4.

Hiroki Kuroda (7-7) took the loss for New York (55-52), which dropped 5 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the American League East. He struck out three and gave up three runs, nine hits and a walk in seven innings.

"Hiro did a pretty good job," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose team has lost four of its last five games. "He had a rough first inning and then shut them down. Gave us the distance we needed."

Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner hit his second leadoff home run in as many days and the fifth of his career. It was also his fourth home run of the series.

Gardner was 1-for-4 with strikeouts in two of his last three at-bats and went 8-for-14 in the series.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had a home run in the third inning, representing the only other glitch on Lewis' line.

"I thought we really put some good at-bats on him early on and that was about it," Girardi said of Lewis. "I thought we hit some balls pretty good but didn't have much to show for it."

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, honored before the game in his last appearance in Arlington, went 0-for-4. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran was 2-for-4.

Lewis, who had lost his past three decisions, has given up three earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. In that one, he gave up a club-record 13 runs to the LA Angels.

He said Wednesday's start in front of a soldout stadium gave him some flashbacks of his ALCS-clinching victory in Game 6 against the Yankees in 2010.

"I was expecting too much of myself," Lewis said of his expectations early in the season. "I don't have any pain anymore and it's a blessing. I feel fortunate to come back from it."

NOTES: Texas C Geovany Soto, on the 15-day disabled list due to a right groin strain, expects to begin a rehab stint with Triple-A Round Rock on Friday, with a return to the Rangers preliminarily set for Aug. 8. ... The Rangers honored Yankees SS Derek Jeter in a pregame ceremony and presented him with cowboy boots and a $10,000 check to his foundation. Former President George W. Bush presented Jeter with a signed picture showing the two before the 2001 World Series. ... Texas LHP Derek Holland, recovering from knee surgery, pitched two scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Double-A Frisco. He gave up no hits and two walks while striking out four in 33 pitches.