Very quickly, Ron Washington made sure to point out that this streak of shutout pitching by the Rangers is not going to continue.
"You've got to ride it while you can," said the Texas Rangers manager. "Hope you don't expect us to be constantly throwing shutouts."
Facing the struggling Seattle Mariners, though, Texas just might be able to keep this shutout streak going.
This time it was Colby Lewis shutting down Seattle's bats, throwing 8 2-3 stellar innings and falling one out shy of a complete game in the Rangers' 4-0 win on Friday night.
Lewis took a two-hitter into the ninth before giving up a pair of singles to Dustin Ackley and Adam Kennedy and eventually causing Washington to make the walk to the mound and pull his starter. Neftali Feliz finished off the shutout for his 19th save of the season as the Rangers ran their shutout streak to 29 innings.
The last run against Texas pitching came in the seventh inning last Saturday night when Oakland's Coco Crisp homered. It's the first time the Rangers have posted three straight shutouts since May 7-9, 2008 -- two of those against Seattle and one against Oakland.
History seems to be repeating itself.
"For three straight games we've executed pitches, we've done a good job," Washington said.
Lewis followed up Derek Holland's stellar performance a night earlier when Holland took a perfect game into the sixth inning before settling for a shutout. Lewis wasn't quite as good, giving up a third-inning single to Brendan Ryan, but was equally effective at keeping Seattle's hapless offense off the scoreboard.
Only three times did Seattle advance a runner to second base against the Rangers' righty. Lewis (9-7) lived on the outside half of the plate and induced weak grounders and pop ups all night. He was on the cusp of his second complete-game shutout this season before stumbling in the ninth.
"It's always disappointing, you always want to finish it off when you get that close," Lewis said. "I'll stew on it tonight and I had four opportunities and they got two hits. Just wake up tomorrow and go back to work and not worry about it."
Lewis won his fourth straight decision and has dropped his ERA from 4.97 on June 11 down to 4.06. He allowed Ryan's single in the third and a leadoff ground-rule double by Franklin Gutierrez in the fifth when centerfielder Endy Chavez was caught shading Gutierrez too much to right-center field. But Gutierrez was left standing at second as Kyle Seager and Carlos Peguero both struck out -- Seager on a 10-pitch at-bat -- and Ichiro Suzuki grounded out weakly to shortstop.
Lewis finished with eight strikeouts and walked two. Feliz got Jack Cust on a groundout to finish off the shutout for his 19th save in 27 chances. Texas now has 12 shutouts this season, second-best in baseball and the top mark in the American League.
Meanwhile, the Mariners saw their scoreless streak extended to 26 straight innings.
"Ultimately it's not like we are going out there playing bad baseball. We're just not doing anything offensively," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "It's frustrating. It's upsetting. I know it is for them too, but ultimately the guys with the bats in their hands have to control it."
The Rangers offense wasn't able to do much against Seattle starter Doug Fister, but came up with a trio of sacrifice flies and Michael Young's RBI single in the eighth.
Ian Kinsler doubled to lead off the game and scored on Josh Hamilton's sacrifice fly. Chavez drove home Nelson Cruz in the second with a sacrifice fly. Then Fister settled into an unhittable groove, retiring 15 straight following Elvis Andrus' leadoff walk in the third. Ten of the 15 outs came on weak grounders in the infield.
The Rangers finally got to Fister (3-11) again in the eighth when Chavez led off with a single and raced to third on Kinsler's base hit. Chavez was cut down at home on an infield grounder by Andrus, and after Hamilton was intentionally walked, Adrian Beltre hit a flyball deep enough for Kinsler to score. Young then followed with a single to score Andrus.
"You've got to give Fister credit. He pitched a really good game and we still got him," Washington said. "And we got him by executing and Colby kept us in the ball game. ... Fister did a great job but Colby did a better job."
Fister gave up six hits and four runs in 7 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out one, but lost his sixth straight decision and hasn't won since May 30.
NOTES: Seattle announced before Friday's game that RHP David Aardsma will need Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. An MRI on Aardsma done Thursday determined the need for surgery. He did not pitch for the Mariners this season. ... Rangers INF Andres Blanco, on the DL since July 8 with a strained lower back, will start swinging a bat on Saturday and if there are no setbacks could head out on a rehab assignment sometime next week. ... Friday was the 12th anniversary of the opening of Safeco Field.