McAdam at the World Series: Lewis saves the day, and maybe the Series, for Texas

McAdam at the World Series: Lewis saves the day, and maybe the Series, for Texas

By Sean McAdam

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Track Colby Lewis' career path and it begins to resemble one of those Family Circus cartoons, the ones where the kids take the most indirect routes to their intended destination.

If Lewis had a theme song, it would be "I've Been Everywhere,'' -- because he has. In the last 11 years, Lewis has been with five major league organizations, claimed on waivers twice and released twice. He spent the a few years in Japan before coming back to the Texas Rangers last winter.

Act II in Lewis' baseball life has been far more successful than the first. He won a dozen games for the Rangers this season and should have won more -- he had a 3.72 ERA in a hitter-friendly ballpark -- but for poor run support.

In the post-season, he's been the staff's unlikely ace. He won Game 2 in the ALCS after the Rangers' bullpen imploded in the late innings of Game 1. He won the ALCS clincher after the Yankees had fought off elimination.

And Saturday night, for his latest trick, Lewis brought the Rangers back into the World Series, limiting them to two runs over 7 23 innings in a 4-2 Texas victory.

A loss Saturday night and the Rangers might have been forced to deploy Cliff Lee in Game 4 to avoid an embarrassing sweep at home. Instead, the World Series is a series after all.

"We certainly needed it,'' gushed manager Ron Washington, "and (Lewis) stepped up and gave us what we needed. He did a tremendous job. Can't say any more than that.''

No need to, either. Mitch Moreland supplied a three-run homer, Josh Hamilton added a solo shot and Neftali Feliz, having apparently spent much of the post-season in the Witness Protection Plan, re-emerged to mowdown the Giants in the ninth.

But it was Lewis who was the key to this win. The San Francisco offense, often punchless during the season, somehow had totaled 20 runs in the first two games of the Series, but Lewis put a stop to that.

"We have a lot of trust in him,'' said catcher Bengie Molina. "Colby's been doing the job all season. I don't think this is a surprise to anybody in this clubhouse. The way he pitched tonight is the way he pitched all year.''

Through the first five innings, the Giants had just two hits, both singles. From the second through the fifth, he pitched to just one batter over the minimum. He threw strikes, worked quickly and kept the momentum in his team's dugout.

"He's a horse,'' said third baseman Michael Young. "He takes the ball and he competes all the time -- every pitch. Those are the kind of guys you really want to play defense behind.''

Young knows of what he speaks, as he's the only member of the Rangers who was here when Lewis was here in his first incarnation.

"The first time he was here, he was just a power guy,'' recounted Young. "He was 96-98 (mph) with a power hook. Then he comes back from Japan and he has great command and (his slider is now his) out pitch. But now he has better command, and has an idea of what he wants to do. That's called pitching and for some guys it takes a while.

"But Colby's there now. He knows exactly what he wants to do.''

Just as baseball's post-season usually offers up obscure position players (Brian Doyle, anyone?) who rise to the challenge, so it is with pitchers. Tim Lincecum is the most publicized pitcher on the San Francisco staff, but it's been Matt Cain who's been their best starter since the playoffs began.

It's the same with Texas. Cliff Lee was their ace, but fared poorly in Game 1 and quickly put his team behind. It was left to Lewis to start cutting into the Giants' 2-0 lead.

"We definitely didn't want to go three (games) down,'' said Lewis. "The last two years, I wasn't thinking I would have this opportunity. But I'm here, trying to make the most of it. It's a great feeling to be back here and to do it on this stage.''

From Texas to Detroit, to Washington to Oakland to Kansas City to Japan and back to Texas, again, Lewis has been everywhere. Now 3-0 after three Texas losses, the Rangers are glad he's here.

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox


Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.


Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.


Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.


Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.


More AP baseball coverage:

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson almost called it a career at age 25 -- just one year before he went on to throw a complete game shutout at Fenway Park.

He finished Saturday's 6-0 win over the Mariners with eight strikeouts and five hits allowed. To get on the mound at Fenway, he had to overcome a serious bout with anxiety and depression. Things came to a head roughly a year ago.

"At that point in time, I was ready to hang 'em up," Johnson told Mike Giardi and Rob Bradford on WEEI radio Sunday. "I wasn't happy, wasn't sleeping through the night, woke up in cold sweats. I just wasn't happy."

But when things got most challenging, Johnson asked for help, which made all the difference, he explained. He broke down on the phone with his father, and discussed all of the issues he'd been struggling with. Then he spoke on the phone with Red Sox mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez, who helped him game plan to fight against his anxiety and depression. Baseball was one of Johnson's problems, and he was considering cutting it out of his life.

"Yes, there were thoughts in my head where I was like, 'What else would I do with my life?'" Johnson said. "I don't think it was baseball. I mean, yes, I would be lying if I didn't say it was that. I think it was a lot of things. Where I was at in my life, I was only a baseball player, and people only saw me as a baseball player. I was just letting everything build up. I think it stemmed all from when I hurt my elbow. I didn't have any feeling in my hand."

He began to worry about whether the feeling in his hand would disappear during his starts. He'd knock his funny bone and the feeling would be gone. That was only one manifestation of his anxieties.

"I just felt like there microscope on me 24/7," he said, "and that's kind of what let's your mind play tricks on you.'

He added: "If I didn't say anything, I don't think there's any chance I'd be here playing baseball. And it is taboo. I always thought -- the reason it took me so long was because, if I say something, they're never going to trust me again. 'How is he able to perform if he's having anxiety and depression problems.' . . . And lo and behold, I think I have more trust now that I said something."

Johnson just kept getting back on the field by throwing one inning at a time until he started having fun again. Fast forward to Sunday, Johnson has two starts for the Sox for a 2.57 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. He has also posted a 2.82 ERA in seven starts and 44.2 innings pitched in the minors.

But some unfortunate news followed his moment of triumph against the Mariners on Saturday. Johnson is heading back down to Pawtucket. The Sox optioned him with David Price rejoining the rotation.

"I would have loved to stay," Johnson said. "But I'm happy to do what they want me to . . . It stinks I'm getting sent down and optioned. But like I told John (Farrell) and like I told Dave (Dombrowski), 'I'm just going to keep working hard. Whenever you guys need me, I'm ready.'

Johnson said he wasn't riding a high of confidence after his excellent outing. He's keeping a level-head, and approaching the game the same way he did before his complete game. But he did admit he had a particularly special moment Saturday. After the game, his dad congratulated Johnson with a hug on the field at Fenway.

Johnson said: "That was the moment I was probably most grateful for everything."