Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians tags out Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers on an attempted steal during the eighth inning at Progressive Field on May 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Losing streaks don't happen very often to the Texas Rangers.
That's why even a short one gets people's attention. Friday night's 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians sent the Rangers to their first three-game slide since Aug. 23-25.
Given the fact Texas still has the second-best record in the league, it's understandable that panic isn't about to set in with the two-time defending AL champions.
"We played really well to start the year and we lose a couple of games and you guys are calling it a dip if we don't win every night," said Colby Lewis, who was handed his first loss of the season in six starts. "It's not a dip. It's baseball."
"We'll bounce back tomorrow," manager Ron Washington said.
Josh Hamilton, who returned to the Rangers' lineup after missing three games because of back spasms, was 1 for 4 with a strikeout. Adrian Beltre, who didn't start for the third straight game because of a sore left hamstring, flied out to deep right as a pinch-hitter to end the game.
Lewis (3-1) allowed six runs and 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings, snapping his personal six-game winning streak dating to Sept. 9. That was the longest active streak in the AL. Lewis gave up a two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the second and a solo shot to Jack Hannahan in the third.
"I think I threw the ball pretty good," Lewis said. "I don't know. Definitely the line score doesn't determine how well I threw in the game, that's for sure."
With the Rangers trailing 4-3 in the seventh, Lewis gave up Johnny Damon's two-run triple, a drive that was nearly caught at the wall by Hamilton. Washington stayed with Lewis, who retired Damon on three fly balls to left field, even though left-hander Robbie Ross was warming up in the bullpen.
Washington second-guessed his decision.
"Colby had gotten him out all day," he said. "I was one batter late. I'll take the blame for that."
"It was an 0-1 curveball," Lewis said. "I don't think I had thrown one to him all day. It was one of those things. I had made him swing at a lot of bad pitches, good pitches for me, in the first three at-bats. He made it happen when he needed to make it happen."
Damon thought Hamilton had a chance to make the catch.
"Fortunately, he didn't make the play," he said. "I've seen him make that catch. No lead is too big for that team, so it felt good give us some insurance."
Washington also thought he made the wrong decision to send Hamilton from first base with Michael Young batting in the eighth. Young swung and missed for strike three and catcher Carlos Santana threw out Hamilton at second.
"I felt like Michael would put the ball in play," Washington said. "Once again, another move I made didn't work. Blame me."
Washington didn't have a problem with Lewis' outing.
"They put the ball in play and found holes," he said. "He gave up the bomb to Choo and then the home run to Hannahan. Other than that, everything else they hit the ball where we weren't."
Jeanmar Gomez (2-1) held the Rangers to three runs in seven innings. Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 10th consecutive save. He is perfect since blowing the save in the season opener April 5.
Choo's two-run homer made it 2-0 in the second. The 414-foot drive to center snapped an 0-for-14 slump and was Choo's first homer since Aug. 23.
Texas, which had won 11 of its previous 12 games at Progressive Field, scored in the third. Mitch Moreland doubled to left and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler. Damon got turned around on Moreland's drive and managed to get a glove on it but couldn't hold on at the wall.
Hannahan made it 3-1 in the bottom half with his second homer, which originally appeared to be a standup triple. His drive down the right-field line caromed off the wall and by the time right fielder Nelson Cruz tracked it down, Hannahan was standing on third.
Indians manager Manny Acta argued and home plate umpire Dale Scott and his crew went to look at TV replays, which showed the ball hit above the yellow line atop the wall. Scott came out and signaled homer, the crowd roared, and Hannahan trotted home.
David Murphy's RBI double in the fourth got Texas within 3-2.
The Rangers tied it in the sixth. Michael Young blooped a double to right, moved up on Murphy's long fly ball to center and scored on Cruz's single to left, which snapped an 0-for-14 slide. Travis Hafner's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning gave Cleveland the lead for good.
The game ended with Choo making a leaping catch at the right-field wall to snare a drive off the bat of Beltre with a runner on first. Beltre could return to the starting lineup Saturday.
Notes: Rangers SS Elvis Andrus went 1 for 4. He has hit safely in all 24 of his career games against Cleveland. ... Cleveland traded OF Ryan Spilborghs to the Rangers, who assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. ... Washington pushed RHP Neftali Perez's next start to Tuesday at Baltimore. Washington wants to keep the other starters, Lewis, Derek Holland, Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison on their regular turn.