Lewis doubled and scored Seattle’s first run, then hit a two-run opposite-field homer an inning later that proved to be the difference in the Mariners’ 3-2 win over Texas on Friday night, the 10th straight road loss for the Rangers.
It’s been a quiet start to the season for Lewis, last year’s American League Rookie of the Year. He missed most of the first month recovering from a bruised knee and struggled at the plate the first couple of weeks.
His swing looked just fine against Texas starter Jordan Lyles. Lewis roped a ground-rule double that one-hopped the fence in center field leading off the second inning. He scored on Ty France’s RBI single.
An inning later, Lewis stayed with a curveball from Lyles and drove it out to right field for his fifth homer of the season. The ball barely cleared the fence and eluded the glove of right fielder Joey Gallo.
Lewis is 6 for 11 with two homers and four RBIs against Lyles.
“This past stretch of games has been really strong, hitting the ball really hard,” Lewis said. “Sometimes they’ve been running them down, catching them, but I’ve been hitting the ball really hard, seeing the ball well.”
Seattle has followed up a six-game losing streak by winning four of five.
The Rangers 10-game road losing streak is their longest since 2014. They haven’t won away from Arlington since May 6 at Minnesota.
“I don’t think there’s a magic recipe. I don’t think there’s anything that you can do. You just got to play better,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “That’s what we have to do to win a game.”
Lyles (2-4) settled down after Lewis’ home run thanks largely to his curveball that he threw 42% of the time and landed for strikes. Lyles retired nine of the final 11 he faced, including five of his eight strikeouts.
“There was a couple that stayed up in the zone,” Lyles said. “We threw a lot of them and overall I thought it was pretty decent curveball wise.”
Texas continued to scuffle at the plate. Seattle starter Justus Sheffield was hit hard, but the Rangers could only manage two runs off the lefty over five innings. Khris Davis’ sacrifice fly scored Adolis García in the fourth and Isiah Kiner-Falefa capped three straight hits with an RBI single in the fifth.
The Rangers missed out on a big inning in the fifth as Jose Trevino was thrown out trying to advance to third and Nick Solak was thrown out at second trying to advance on a wild pitch to end the inning.
Woodward didn’t have a problem with Solak trying to advance but was annoyed at missing out on the chances at a big inning by Trevino’s mistake.
Seattle manager Scott Servais was thrilled some of the fundamentals worked on extensively in spring training showed up.
“From a coaching perspective, when guys execute those type of plays; I mean, when a guy gets in the box and gets a big hit and wins the game with a homerun or double, awesome that helps our club,” Servais said. “But it’s it’s doing the little fundamental things that we spent so much time, that we continue to talk about … that’s great team baseball.”
Sheffield (4-4) allowed six hits and struck out one.
Seattle’s bullpen was excellent despite being without three key arms: Will Vest, Drew Steckenrider and Kendall Graveman who are all on the injury list for COVID-19 related reasons.
Anthony Misiewicz struck out the side in the sixth and JT Chargios worked the seventh. Keynan Middleton gave up a two-out double and a walk in the eight. Erik Swanson entered and struck out García on a 96 mph fastball to end the threat.
Swanson gave up a walk and two-out single to Brock Holt in the ninth but got Jason Martin to pop out to finish his first save.
Mariners: IF Shed Long Jr. began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. Long has been out all season due to a stress fracture in his right shin and had setbacks in the recovery process. Long appeared in 34 games last season for the Mariners.
Rangers: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-4, 4.53) threw seven shutout innings in his last start against Houston. Foltynewicz has thrown at least six innings in three of his past five starts.
Mariners: RHP Justin Dunn (1-2, 3.40) allowed just one run and one hit over five innings in his last start against San Diego. Dunn has allowed three earned runs or less in all eight of his starts but has yet to finish six innings.