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TEX@TB: Lewis dominates the Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter David Price didn't have much to say in the home clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon. But he did make one succinct observation.

"I threw the ball fine," Price said. "It just wasn't good enough."

No it wasn't, not against Rangers starter Colby Lewis and reliever Neftali Feliz. That pair combined on a five-hit shutout, and the Rangers finished their stay at Tropicana Field with a 3-0 victory over the Rays.

The victory allowed the Rangers to take two of three in the series and gave them their first winning road set since taking two of three from the Orioles on April 8-10 in Baltimore.

"Very nice," manager Ron Washington said afterward. "Very nice win. Big win. Huge."

Lewis allowed four hits and two walks while striking out eight. Only twice did he allow a runner past first base. The Rangers scored once for him in the fifth, and Lewis kept it a 1-0 game until the eighth.

"This was a big one; it was definitely a total pitching matchup today," Rangers designated hitter Michael Young said. "Price threw extremely well, and Colby was awesome. That's the kind of game that's fun to be a part of, because every pitch means something."

The Rangers are starting to get this kind of performance from Lewis regularly. He is 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA in his last seven outings, and he has a 2.19 ERA in six starts on the road this season. After some early-season troubles with his fastball command, Lewis is falling into a pretty good groove.

"I feel that if I can locate my fastball, everything else plays off of that," Lewis said. "I felt had pretty good stuff today. I felt like my curveball came into play big-time today. I didn't have that my last couple of starts."

Catcher Yorvit Torrealba was a little more enthused about Lewis' performance.

"Awesome," Torrealba said. "He pounded the strike zone on both sides of the plate, mixed up his fastball, changeup curveball, slider ... he ran through it all on both sides of the plate."

With Feliz, though, things have been a little unsettled lately. He had blown three save opportunities in his last seven appearances, and the Rangers were growing anxious about getting him into a groove.

One strong appearance does not constitute a groove, but Feliz did get the job done on Wednesday afternoon. He took over for Lewis and gave up a leadoff single to Ben Zobrist in the ninth. He then retired the next three hitters on two popups and a grounder to earn his 11th save of the season.

"He looked like Neftali," Washington said. "He was down in the zone, and he decided to throw some breaking balls."

Washington said he didn't think it mattered that Feliz had to protect a three-run lead rather than just a one-run margin. The Rangers scored one in the fifth on a double by Adrian Beltre and a single by Nelson Cruz, and that was it until the eighth.

Price had retired 11 straight hitters after the Cruz single before Craig Gentry doubled with two outs in the eighth. Ian Kinsler then drew a walk, and the pair worked a successful double-steal on the first pitch to Elvis Andrus to put runners on second and third. Andrus rewarded their audacity by grounding a single past first baseman Sean Rodriguez to bring home two big runs.

That made it 3-0 when Feliz took over in the ninth.

"The way he threw the ball today, it could have been a one-run game," Washington said. "The way he threw the ball today, he could have shut down any amount of a lead. He was pretty good. I hope that's what we get from him from here on out."

Price was gone after eight innings and is now 6-5 with a 3.52 ERA. He is also 0-5 with a 5.85 ERA in seven career starts, including two in the American League Division Series last season, against the Rangers.

"I didn't throw well enough, and Colby threw a great game," Price said.

"He was good, but he is always good," Cruz said. "We've got to win no matter who is the pitcher. We got really good pitching from Colby today. When we get that kind of performance, we've got to win." Comments