ARLINGTON, Texas — Colby Lewis feels ready for the playoffs, even though the Texas right-hander is taking a five-game losing streak into the postseason.
Making his fourth start since missing more than two months with a muscle injury in his right arm and shoulder, Lewis allowed Corey Dickerson’s three-run homer in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.
But all four runs allowed by Lewis (6-5) — all in the third inning — were unearned because of second baseman Rougned Odor’s error on a hard grounder from Kevin Kiermaier three batters before Dickerson’s career high-tying 24th homer.
The 37-year-old threw more than 100 pitches (101) and made it to the seventh inning for the first time since his injury.
“Both of those are significant,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “He had not been to that point since we’d gotten him back, either case, the 100 or the seventh. I feel comfortable that as long as he responds well in between, we’ll feel good about it.”
The Rangers rested most of their starters a night after the AL West winners clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Texas (95-66) remains a win shy of the franchise record and still needs either a win in Sunday’s finale or a Cleveland loss to secure the best record in the AL for the first time in franchise history. The Rangers hold the tiebreaker on the Indians, who have a makeup game Monday against Detroit.
Lewis allowed five hits with three strikeouts after matching the shortest outing of his career (1 1/3 innings) in his previous start, a 7-1 loss at Oakland.
“I felt stronger as I kind of worked through the middle innings,” Lewis said. “I didn’t feel like I was fatigued in any form. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi (10-6) struck out eight in six innings, giving up the only run on Robinson Chirinos’ eighth homer in the sixth. He has 10 wins for the second time in his career.
“It’s a cool thing to have double-digit wins,” he said. “Took the last game of the year to get it, but 10 wins is definitely very, very nice.”
Alex Colome pitched around Dickerson’s dropped fly ball leading off the ninth for his 37th save.
Shin-Soo Choo, trying to get playoff-ready for Texas after missing six weeks with a broken left forearm, was 0 for 4 in his second start since returning. It was his first appearance in his usual leadoff spot.
Choo, who was on the disabled list four times while also battling calf, hamstring and back injuries, made his return Friday in the No. 7 spot. Carlos Gomez, who was still with Houston when Choo broke his arm, is getting most of the starts as the leadoff hitter playing left field.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Choo, the regular right fielder. “I said many times leadoff just gets one extra at-bat. It felt weird last night hitting seventh. Especially this year with all the injuries, I’m just happy to be in the lineup.”
The Texas bullpen extended its franchise-record scoreless streak to 32 1/3 innings. … Dickerson has six homers with two or more runners on, the most for the Rays since Evan Longoria had seven in 2011.
Rays: Kiermaier came out of the game with a left calf contusion after pulling up while sprinting toward Chirinos’ homer in the gap in right center.
Rangers: Odor was limping after Kiermaier’s sharp grounder but stayed in the game. He was replaced by pinch-runner Hanser Alberto an inning later after hitting into a fielder’s choice.
Rays: RHP Chase Whitley (0-0, 1.74 ERA) is set for his first big-league start since May 14, 2015, before he had elbow surgery. That start was for the Yankees against the Rays.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (10-11, 4.37) is set for his fourth attempt at a career-high 11th victory. He allowed a career high-tying eight earned run in his last start, an 8-3 loss to Milwaukee.