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TEX@SEA: Lewis hurls 8 2/3 shutout frames

SEATTLE -- The winning streak is at nine, the shutout streak is three and the consecutive scoreless innings streak is at 29. The competition isn't the best that the American League has to offer, but the Rangers could care less.

The second half of the season is two games old and Rangers pitchers still haven't given up a run. The only downer was Colby Lewis couldn't finish this one, but Neftali Feliz was there for the final out as the Rangers beat the Mariners, 4-0, at Safeco Field on Friday night.

"You're always disappointed because you want to finish it off, but I had the opportunity," Lewis said. "I had four chances to get three outs."

As it is, the Rangers have recorded three straight shutouts for the third time in franchise history and their scoreless-innings streak is the third-longest. The Rangers had a 39-inning scoreless streak in 1981 and a 33-inning streak in 2008. This Rangers team still has two more games against the Mariners, who are last in the AL in batting average and runs scored.

That said, the Rangers now have a 3.19 ERA on the road, which is the lowest in the league. That means they have been pitching well just about everywhere, not just Safeco Field. The results just haven't been like this. The Rangers have a 2.33 ERA during their current nine-game winning streak and opponents are hitting .198 against them.

"They're pitching the way they're capable of," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "They're pounding the strike zone and executing pitches, even behind in the count. Whatever we call, they're throwing the ball down in the zone and not making mistakes."

Lewis is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his last six starts and 9-7 with a 4.07 ERA on the season. The shutout was the Rangers' 12th of the season, the most in the AL and one behind the Phillies for the big league lead. It is also the most by the Rangers since they had 13 in 1981. The club record is 17, set in '77.

"Location ... commanding the fastball on both sides of the plate and flipping my offspeed stuff over," Lewis said. "We're all just commanding our pitches. That's what any pitcher tells you: Command pitches and keep them off balance and you're able to keep them from scoring."

The Mariners may be last in the league in offense, but this was Lewis' first win in four starts at Safeco over the past two seasons since signing with the Rangers. He has a career 3.04 ERA in Seattle, but this was his first win in seven starts.

"Same stuff he always does," Mariners first baseman Jack Cust said. "He commands the ball well, works off his fastball, doesn't give you much to hit. You just have to try to grind him out, wait for mistakes. He made a couple that we hit hard, but it just wasn't enough against a team like that."

Lewis outpitched Mariners starter Doug Fister, who went into the game averaging 2.15 runs of support per nine innings. That was the lowest in the American League and it only dropped further on Friday night. The Rangers' euphoria over their pitching is in direct contrast to the frustration that is setting in with the Mariners' lack of offense.

"Obviously this is glaring, with regard to our offense, and it's been that way for a while," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Doug Fister gave us every opportunity to win that ballgame and deserves better. The flipside of that is ... we're way too deep into the season to continue having games like this. It starts with me, but ultimately they need to go out there and get it done."

Rangers manager Ron Washington was thrilled with his offense, even though his team managed just six hits. The Rangers scored four runs on three sacrifice flies and one nicely- executed hit-and-run. Josh Hamilton, Endy Chavez and Adrian Beltre drove in runs with sacrifice flies and a hit-and-run single by Ian Kinsler -- who has an 11-game hitting streak -- was crucial in a two-run eighth inning.

The Rangers fell one short of tying the club record for most sacrifice flies in a game.

"We had a great night of situational hitting," Washington said. "Our situational hitting was extremely good today. That's the way you play baseball. Fister pitched a great game, but we got him by executing. Fister did a great job, but Colby was a little bit better."

Lewis was one out away from combining with Derek Holland to throw consecutive shutouts. Rangers pitchers haven't accomplished that since John Burkett against the Blue Jays and Ken Hill against the Tigers on Aug. 11-12, 1996.

Lewis got the first out in the ninth, but a one-out single by Dustin Ackley and two-out single by Adam Kennedy made Washington go to the bullpen for Feliz. Lewis ended up throwing a season-high 121 pitches.

"Colby went out and executed his pitches the whole game, he just ran out of gas in the end," Washington said. "He did a great job to that point and we wanted to give him a chance to get the third out. But when they got two baserunners, we decided to bring Neftali in."

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