Colby Lewis felt cramping in his right arm while allowing three of the first four hitters to reach base capped by a home run in the first inning of his first start since flirting with a perfect game.
The Texas right-hander pitched through the discomfort by retiring 11 straight batters before more trouble in the fifth inning of the Rangers' 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Jay Bruce had a three-run homer off Lewis in the first inning and Zack Cozart homered along with a two-run triple to snap the Rangers' season-best winning streak at seven games and end the best start of Lewis' career — six straight wins.
"I felt like if I could continue to have quick innings it would have been fine," said Lewis, who expects to make his next start. "I'm more disappointed in myself for not being able to go back out there and eat up two or three more innings for the bullpen."
By taking the opener of a two-game interleague series, the Reds snapped the Rangers' run of 10 straight series victories a night after Texas got credit for a series win by beating Baltimore in a makeup game between the AL's top two teams.
Making his first career start against the Reds, Lewis (6-1) allowed five hits and six runs in his first loss since last Sept. 28.
He allowed three of the first four hitters to reach, the last on Bruce's 16th home run in the 36-year-old's first start since taking a perfect game into the eighth inning and a no-hitter into the ninth of a 5-1 win at Oakland.
Cozart's triple was part of a three-run fifth, and Lewis told the Texas staff about tightness in his triceps after the inning. He came out after 68 pitches.
"When you can nick a guy like that early that has been having a lot of success, it's big," said Bruce, who had three hits and four RBIs. "Any time you give your pitcher a 3-0 lead, I think they feel a lot better than going out there and having to battle from behind or even tied."
Anthony DeSclafani (1-0) gave up five hits and two runs with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings in his third start. The right-hander missed the first two months with a strained left oblique sustained in his final spring training appearance.
"I'm just trying to get myself back into rhythm personally," said DeSclafani, who tied for the NL lead among rookies last year in starts and had the most innings. "I just want to get back to doing well."
Cuban right-hander Raisel Iglesias, out since the last of five starts on April 25 because of a right shoulder impingement, pitched two scoreless innings to finish the Cincinnati win on the same day he was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Jurickson Profar had a two-run homer to get the AL West-leading Rangers within 3-2 in the second. Texas' series streak was the longest in the majors since Tampa Bay won 10 straight in 2013.
Hidden Ball Trick?
Eugenio Suarez fielded a high-hopper from Adrian Beltre in the second inning, but the Cincinnati third baseman thought the ball skipped over his glove. He looked skyward with the ball visible to cameras in the webbing of his glove. By the time he realized he had the ball, it was too late to get Beltre, who was credited with a single.
Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin (right shoulder stiffness) threw a bullpen session and remains on track as the likely starter Friday in RHP Yu Darvish's spot. Darvish (right shoulder discomfort) is still not throwing off a mound.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto sat for the first time this season because of an illness. Adam Duvall made his first start of the season at first.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.88) is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in June, including 7 2-3 scoreless innings in a 1-0 win at St. Louis in his last start. He is 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 14 career starts against the Reds, all with Philadelphia.
Reds: RHP Dan Straily (4-3, 3.66) makes his 10th career appearance against the Rangers. The previous two were with Houston and the first seven with Oakland. He is 4-3 with a 4.47 ERA against Texas.