10/21/11 1:40 AM ET
Lewis lets loose with another October gem
Rangers able to rally after team's first quality start of playoffs
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Indeed, his performance kept them in the game enough so that their two runs in the ninth inning could generate a 2-1 comeback, so it was another day at the postseason office for him.
But there was a little something Lewis delivered that might have taken even him by surprise: Mr. Stoic actually showed some emotion on the field.
The startling bit of animation came when Elvis Andrus made his tremendous backhanded stab and flipped the ball to second baseman Ian Kinsler for the final out of the fifth inning.
"I try to stay as composed as I can, but I was fist-pumping on that one," Lewis said with a smile in Texas' celebratory clubhouse afterward.
Emotion? From Lewis?
"That's pretty rare," veteran infielder Michael Young said.
Added catcher Mike Napoli: "This time of year will bring it out of you, I think. Sometimes you like to see it when guys don't really show it, but you know they always have it inside."
This time of year brings something out of Lewis, and it's something that the Rangers are riding as far as they can take it. After taking the no-decision, he's 4-1 with a 2.22 ERA in seven postseason starts, and this one topped them all.
The performance Lewis turned in Thursday night will go down as a quality start, his and Texas' second of this postseason. But quality hardly covers it.
This was obviously and by far the Rangers' best outing in October, as Lewis allowed just one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings, shutting down a Cardinals lineup that bashed its way through the National League playoffs.
"Colby Lewis was our player of the game," Young said. "We weren't scoring runs, and he kept the game at zero and had the momentum going. He kept them locked up enough."
Yet when he exited the game and Alexi Ogando again allowed a go-ahead pinch-hit single to Allen Craig, Lewis stood to take the loss. And if he had, he would have had to chew on his last pitch of the game a long time.
No. 8 hitter Nick Punto was likely going to be the last one he faced on this night, with Craig on deck to pinch-hit for Cards starter Jaime Garcia, who had shut down the Rangers with a seven-inning gem of his own, allowing just three hits to the American League's -- and perhaps the Majors' -- roughest row of hitters.
It was an 0-2 pitch that Punto hit toward first, bouncing past Young's lunge to his right, putting runners on the corners and ending Lewis' night.
"I got ahead with some fastballs down and away, some good pitches, and then I just threw a cement-mixer slider," Lewis said. "I didn't get it to where I wanted it, and he did his job and got it in play and got it past Mikey. That's the one pitch I'd want back, especially in the seventh, late in the game like that."
From there, Lewis became a very interested spectator. While the rest of the world was riding a roller coaster, Lewis said he was his normal, stoic self.
Then again, having that Rangers lineup ready and due to make something happen helps.
"Look at our lineup," Lewis said. "It's just one pitch away from tying the ballgame. I wasn't really concerned. Yes, it was unfortunate we went down late, but we battled back and did the small things without the homer."
And while the boxscore won't show Lewis as the winner -- and very nearly showed him as the loser -- he demonstrated that the postseason remains a place he feels as comfortable as anyone out there.
Once again, Lewis stepped it up under the hot glare of the October lights, to no one's surprise in Texas' clubhouse.
"I don't know how, but that's exactly what he did -- he throws zeros up there every time," Young said. "I think the biggest thing is Colby's prepared. He's ready. He does his work and when the game rolls around he cuts it loose because he's ready. That's a good feeling for a player. You don't have to look in the mirror and think you could have done something else."
When Lewis looked in the mirror after Thursday's game, he saw another Rangers player who was pumped up about a great comeback and a huge World Series win.
"When you win in the ninth, guys are pumped up, they're like, 'I can't even eat right now because I'm so excited.' The biggest thing is we're going to get on that plane tonight and we're going to be excited to go back home," Lewis said.
And lest anyone think that stoic demeanor -- except for that involuntary slip after Andrus' amazing play -- means Lewis isn't enjoying himself, think again.
"That's what postseason's all about," Lewis said. "It's exciting. It's a lot of fun. It's what gives me goosebumps right now talking about it. It's a blast to be out there and be part of it."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.