ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Colby Lewis came up big in his last inning to preserve Texas’ lead and the Rangers then broke the game open to help him get an easy win.
Lewis gave up one run and five hits in six innings to pick up his 13th win, and the Rangers used a seven-run sixth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 12-4 Saturday night.
Lewis (13-5) walked two and threw 111 pitches — the last 15 to Asdrubal Cabrera, who fouled off 10 pitches before flying out to right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to end the top of the sixth with a runner on base and the Rays trailing 3-1.
“The last at-bat was a tough AB,” Lewis said. “It was a two-run lead. I was just trying to make the pitch and get the out. Choo came up with a little shoestring grab and made it out of the inning.”
Lewis moved just one win away from tying his career-high of 14 set in Texas’ 2011 AL championship season. He also trails only Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, who are tied for the AL lead with 14 wins.
“The guy that has been a mainstay for us and what he has meant to the starting rotation all year long,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He wasn’t going to give in.”
Texas then broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Chris Gimenez, who hit a two-run homer in the second, singled to drive in the first run. Delino DeShields and Choo each drove in a run, another scored on an error and then Adrian Beltre hit a three-run home run to extend the Rangers’ lead to 10-1.
Choo added his 15th homer in the seventh.
Chris Archer (10-9) gave up eight runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rangers (58-57) won their third in a row, and moved half a game ahead of the Rays (58-58) in the wild-card standings. Texas is 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the second wild-card position.
After two straight tense, one-run games, Gimenez said, “We needed a game like this just to take some of the pressure off guys. We did a good job of stepping up and putting the nail in the coffin.”
Catchers Gimenez and Bobby Wilson were acquired on July 31 to replace two injured catchers.
The Rays scored their only run against Lewis in the fifth. Kevin Kiermaier raced home from second base on John Jaso’s hit to shortstop Elvis Andrus in shallow right-center field. Gimenez couldn’t handle Andrus’ throw as he turned to try to tag the runner.
Tampa Bay tagged Texas’ bullpen for two runs in the seventh on Evan Longoria’s single. Cabrera hit a solo homer in the eighth.
With his 10th homer, Beltre has reached double figures in 16 seasons. Only the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, with 18, has more among current players. Boston’s David Ortiz also has 16. … Since Gimenez posted a career-high four RBIs on Aug. 27, 2010, he has reached three RBIs only twice — on each of the last two Saturdays.
Rangers: Texas confirmed that LHP Cole Hamels, who missed a start Thursday because of a sore left groin, will be able to start on Monday. LHP Derek Holland may not be far behind after throwing 89 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock on Friday.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (torn labrum) will come off the disabled list for the first time since May to start on Sunday. Smyly (0-1, 2.70) is 3-2, 1.96 in 10 career starts for Tampa Bay.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-9, 3.33) lost his only start against Tampa Bay this season. He’s coming off 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Texas’ 3-2 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday.