OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When the ball left Max Muncy’s bat leading off the ninth inning, Colby Lewis thought it was another fly that would move him one out closer to a no-hitter.
Instead the ball kept carrying and glanced off Texas right fielder Nomar Mazara’s glove as he crashed into the wall for Oakland’s first hit of the game.
“I thought he was going to get to it a lot easier,” Lewis said. “It is what it is. You can’t throw your arms up in the air and get all mad about it. You have to go back to work.”
Lewis did just that and finished off the Athletics in a 5-1 victory Thursday that left the Texas right-hander wondering what could have been. The 36-year-old Lewis just missed out on a crowning achievement to an 11-year big league career that has been hampered by injuries and included a detour in Japan.
“I feel like any time you go into the ninth and you haven’t given up a hit, when it happens there’s a disappointment there,” Lewis said. “I’m not getting any younger. But I feel like it was a great day.”
Lewis was perfect until walking Yonder Alonso with two outs in the eighth.
Muncy led off the ninth with a drive to deep right field. Mazara, a rookie who made a nice running catch to rob Muncy in the third, ran hard as he angled back to the corner. Mazara tracked down this ball but couldn’t hold onto it as he smacked into the padded wall.
“It’s disappointing when you get that deep into a game,” catcher Bobby Wilson said. “It doesn’t happen very often. If that ball’s hit a little bit higher, a little bit lower, Maz can make the play on that. Feel bad for Colby. Granted we won the game, he won a complete game, one run. But you feel for him, as hard as he worked. If anybody deserves it in this game, it’s Colby.”
Mazara looked at his glove as he retrieved the ball. Official scorer David Feldman immediately called the play a double, ending Lewis’ quest for Texas’ first no-hitter in 22 years.
“Nobody wants to go out there and get no-hit,” Muncy said. “We’d been swinging the bat really well the last couple of games, so it’s pretty frustrating to go out there and almost have this happen today. Thankfully, it didn’t.”
Two batters later, Lewis (6-0) lost his shutout when left fielder Ryan Rua couldn’t make a diving catch on a blooper by Coco Crisp that went for an RBI double.
Lewis walked one and struck out four, matching the low-hit complete game of his career with his third two-hitter.
Last September, Lewis also took a perfect game into the eighth against the A’s. Danny Valencia broke that up with a leadoff double.
Lewis was aiming for Texas’ first no-hitter since Kenny Rogers threw a perfect game in 1994 and the second in the majors this season after Jake Arrieta did it for the Chicago Cubs against Cincinnati on April 21.
The A’s haven’t been no-hit since four Baltimore pitchers combined to do it in 1991. That’s the longest stretch any big league team has gone without being held hitless.
Lewis was barely threatened the first eight innings as he got the A’s to swing early in counts and only got to three balls three times in the first seven innings. He needed just 16 pitches through the fifth and sixth innings, retiring Muncy on a bunt attempt in the sixth.
“I was thinking about it after the first time through the lineup,” Lewis said. “Any time someone says they don’t think about it, they’re lying.”
Daniel Mengden (0-2) allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits in 6 1-3 innings of his second career start.
Mengden had retired 15 straight batters before Ian Desmond homered to right leading off the seventh to give Lewis a 1-0 lead. The Rangers added another run that inning and then broke it open with three in the eighth, including Adrian Beltre’s two-run double off Fernando Rodriguez.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish, on the disabled list since June 9 with shoulder soreness, will join the Rangers in St. Louis this weekend but it’s not clear when he’ll start his throwing program, manager Jeff Banister said. … Beltre was back in the lineup at third base after missing seven games with a hamstring strain.
A’s: Oakland still hasn’t named a starter for Saturday’s game against the Angels to replace LHP Sean Manaea, who’s on the DL with a strained left forearm.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
Lewis became the fifth Rangers pitcher to throw at least eight no-hit innings and fall short of finishing the job. Yu Darvish took a no-hit bid until two outs in the ninth inning against Houston in 2013 before allowing a single to Marwin Gonzalez. Nolan Ryan twice took no-hit bids 8 1-3 innings and Charlie Hough did it once.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels has won seven straight road decisions for Texas heading into Thursday’s game at the St. Louis Cardinals.
A’s: RHP Kendall Graveman is 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts against the Los Angeles Angels. He’s pitched less than five innings in each of his last two starts and three of his last four starts.