ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rangers had the best record in baseball in games where they allowed four runs or more. They score plenty of runs, so no need to worry if they give up a few.
The Rays' pitching can change that equation.
The Rangers expected some games like Monday's, and that means that to advance they're going to need some performances like the one Colby Lewis gave them Monday. Lewis, an unsung star from the 2010 Texas run to the World Series, allowed just one run in six innings, and the Rangers turned it into a 4-3 win that gave them a two games to one edge in the series.
The Rangers realize that on paper, the starting pitching matchups in this series will rarely favor them, if ever. They know that the big question is whether their much-better lineup can score a few runs against the great Tampa Bay starters, and whether their starters can do a good enough job against a much-weaker Rays lineup.
Monday, Lewis was better than just good enough.
He allowed just one hit, a fourth-inning Desmond Jennings home run, and just one other baserunner, on a walk to B.J. Upton. He outpitched the much more heralded David Price, and handed a 4-1 lead to the Ranger bullpen (which held onto it, just barely).
Lewis, who the Rangers brought back from Japan before last season, has a 4.99 ERA in 136 career regular-season games. He lowered his postseason ERA to 1.67, in six starts over the last two Octobers.
Monday, he did just what the Rangers asked of him, just what they needed.