ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Oakland’s Danny Valencia tipped his batting helmet toward Colby Lewis from second base after breaking up the Texas right-hander’s perfect game with a leadoff double in the eighth inning.
“When you are witnessing great things happening, there’s a mutual respect,” Valencia said. “He was very competitive tonight.”
Lewis settled for a two-hitter, and the most dominant performance at home by a Rangers righty since Nolan Ryan’s record seventh no-hitter in 1991, leading Texas to a 4-0 victory over the Athletics on Friday night.
The 36-year-old simply jogged to his spot for defensive positioning after Valencia’s hit down the left-field line. And when Lewis secured the shutout, he turned straight-faced to catcher Chris Gimenez for a quick hug. No big deal.
“I don’t know, like I guess on any given night, but I don’t look at myself like having no-hitter or perfect game stuff,” said Lewis (15-8), who beat his previous career high in wins from 2011, the last of two straight seasons that the Rangers went to the World Series.
“I was like, ‘Whatever.’”
The home crowd wasn’t. The fans gave him a standing ovation when the perfect game was gone. They did it again when he finished the eighth by striking out Max Muncy to strand Valencia at third.
And they were standing, clapping and chanting “Colby!” when he got Mark Canha on a game-ending fielder’s choice to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Josh Phegley opened the ninth with a sharp single off third baseman Adrian Beltre’s glove.
Mitch Moreland snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak for Texas with a two-run double in a three-run first inning off Oakland starter Jesse Chavez (7-15).
Lewis needed just 97 pitches, and the 21 straight batters retired to start the game were the most for a Texas pitcher since Yu Darvish got the first 26 before Marwin Gonzalez’s two-out single in the ninth for Houston on April 2, 2013.
The veteran of 11 major league seasons — and two in Japan to try to get his career back on track — was 0-3 with an 8.62 ERA in his past three starts.
“He does throw some strikes,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “You just try to get a ball in the middle of the plate, and he wasn’t throwing too many there. As the game goes along, and you don’t have a hit, and sometimes you get a little too aggressive.”
Lewis got great defensive plays from center fielder Delino DeShields in the fourth inning and second baseman Rougned Odor in the sixth to keep the bid alive.
DeShields, back in the lineup after missing three games when he injured his left knee on a slide in Seattle, made a diving catch in shallow center on a soft line drive from Josh Reddick. Odor was already playing a shift in shallow right field when Muncy hit a line drive that sent him running deeper into right, where he made a running, leaping catch.
“What a fun game to watch all the way around,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Between Colby, the defense and some of the timely hitting. Fun defensive plays out there for Colby.”
Lewis twice went to three-ball counts when he still had the perfect game. No. 9 hitter Eric Sogard flied to right to end the sixth after getting ahead 3-0, and Reddick flew out to left on a 3-1 pitch to end the seventh.
Athletics: CF Billy Burns was scratched from the leadoff spot because of right hamstring tightness. ... Manager Bob Melvin said there was no timetable for C Stephen Vogt’s return. He was hit in the groin by a foul tip Sunday. Melvin said Vogt would probably be a DH before he was behind the plate again. ... RHP Chris Bassitt (shoulder) threw at 105 feet and should be close to a bullpen session.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton had arthroscopic surgery to repair a slight meniscus tear in his left knee, and there’s still a chance he could play again this season. It would likely be as a pinch-hitter.
Athletics: LHP Sean Nolin (0-1, 4.50), part of the offseason trade that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto, makes his second start after giving up five hits and three runs in six innings in a 3-2 loss to Seattle in his debut for the A’s.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (12-9, 3.16) is set for his 30th start, which would be his seventh straight season with at least 30. The others were with Milwaukee. He has won five straight decisions, his longest since a career-best streak of eight straight in 2012.