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TEX@CWS: Lewis tosses a five-hit shutout

CHICAGO -- Now that's the way to start a road trip.

Colby Lewis tossed a five-hit shutout as the Rangers beat the White Sox, 4-0, at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night. It was the first shutout for the resurgent Lewis, and the Rangers' first whitewashing by a single pitcher since Derek Holland's three-hitter against the Angels on Aug. 9, 2009.

"He had everything working tonight," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "Spotting his fastball, had a real good slider. His changeup, he moved it around and kept them off balance.

"When he's got that kind of a slider and spots his fastball the way he did tonight, he's tough. That's why he was tough tonight."

Lewis enjoyed his fourth straight outing of 7 1/3 innings or longer and won for the third time in his last four appearances. He struck out seven and walked only one, using 110 pitches for his first complete game since June 19 of last season.

"Early, it wasn't very good," said Lewis. "The first inning, my fastball command was kind of bad and my slider was flat. I made a little adjustment, started throwing downhill and getting some quick outs, and then the slider started [working]."

So what does his first career shutout mean?

"Nothing," said Lewis. "What is it, May 16? We've still got 4 1/2 months left. We've still got to go out there and get some quality starts."

Endy Chavez got his first three Major League hits in nearly two years, backing Lewis's gem. Chavez, who spent most of the last two seasons rehabbing from a serious knee injury, had two singles, a double and scored two runs to pace the Rangers' attack.

"It's a great feeling," said Chavez. "I'm doing what I'm supposed to. I just feel very comfortable and happy that I can do something to help the team win."

Michael Young continued his road success with two hits and an RBI, and Ian Kinsler bashed a two-run single in the sixth to give Lewis the four-run cushion.

"You want to get as many runs tacked on as you can," said Young. "[The White Sox] have a ton of power in their lineup. The last thing you want to do is put them with reach of a two- or three-run homer."

Lewis continued his recent turnaround. He entered the game having allowed 12 home runs, tied for the most in baseball. However, he's now posted four straight quality starts, during which he has a 3-1 record and a 1.67 ERA.

"Because of the type of slider that [Lewis] has, if he gets fastball command, then he gets swings and misses," said Washington. "He can get swings on pitches that aren't in the strike zone, and he got quite a few of them tonight simply because he was able to spot his fastball and his arm action didn't change."

Lewis cruised through the first four-plus innings, allowing only a second-inning walk to Paul Konerko. Then Lewis got serious, striking out the next four Chicago hitters, including all three in the fourth. That led to some hand-wringing at U.S. Cellular Field, where Minnesota's Francisco Liriano threw the season's first no-hitter on May 3.

"When you get a guy like tonight, he challenged [guys]," said Konerko. "We got a lot of pitches to hit. We just didn't hit them. It wasn't like it was a mystery. He came right after me and a lot of guys. We just didn't take good swings and execute."

Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski broke up Lewis' no-hit bid with a solid single with one out in the fifth. Omar Vizquel also singled in the inning, but Lewis escaped the frame by striking out Gordon Beckham.

"I'm just worrying about getting ahead and getting outs," said Lewis. "I try not to worry about [a no-hitter], but you know that you've walked one guy. You know what you're doing out there. I wasn't really too concerned with it."

Chavez led off the game with a double, collecting his first hit as a Ranger in his 10th at-bat. It was Chavez's first big-league hit since June 19, 2009, when he was with Seattle.

The Rangers purchased Chavez's contract from Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. When he played in Texas' game against the Angels later that day, it marked his first appearance in a big league game since that game nearly two years ago, when he tore up a knee in a collision with former teammate Yuniesky Betancourt. Chavez underwent major reconstructive surgery on the knee and has been working his way back ever since.

"The injury is in the past," said Chavez. "When I started playing this year in Triple-A, I found out that I can still do everything I could do. They're giving me the opportunity to be here and I'm just doing concentrating on all the things that I can do. I'm not worried about my knee anymore."

Chavez advanced to third after his double, but was stranded. He made it all the way around in the third. Chavez singled to lead off the inning, then stole second. He scored the game's first run on Young's two-out double.

Young, who came into the game leading the big leagues with a .393 average on the road, now has a 16-game hitting streak on the road, the longest in the Majors this season. The streak also matches the longest road hitting streak in Young's 12-year big league career. After the game, Young was more interested in praising Lewis' work than explaining his own success.

"White Sox have a lot of talent up and down the lineup," said Young. "For Colby to come out in their ballpark tonight with that kind of effort was big for us. The last three or four starts have been great. It's been fun to watch."

Young scored on a single from Adrian Beltre, who has a team-high 34 RBIs.

The Rangers were collectively patient against White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who threw 71 pitches in the first three innings. Texas had eight hits and three walks in the first five innings, but stranded nine runners, keeping the game close.

"[Jackson] has great ability, a great slider," said Washington. "He was erratic a little bit tonight with his command and we were able to get his pitch count up a little bit. He's a quality pitcher. Any time you can get anything off of him, you've got to be happy."

Chavez added a third hit by bunting his way on with one out in the sixth. He stole a base and scored in the third.

"He only did what he's capable of doing," said Washington. "It was just a matter of him getting up here and believing in himself and getting it done."

Elvis Andrus followed Chavez's bunt hit with another single, and both advanced into scoring position on Jackson's second wild pitch of the game. Kinsler finally got the clutch hit the Rangers were looking for, singling in Chavez and Andrus and driving Jackson from the game after 111 pitches.

The win temporarily moved the Rangers into a first-place tie with the Angels, who played at Oakland later Monday night. Not bad for a team that has its entire starting outfield on the disabled list. Texas had lost seven of its last nine road games before Monday's win, which came in the first game of a three-city, seven-game trip.

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