ARLINGTON, Texas — Colby Lewis was pitching exactly one year after right hip resurfacing surgery, a procedure just short of a full hip replacement.
The right-hander has had some ups and downs in his unprecedented comeback for the Texas Rangers. He is believed to be the first major leaguer to pitch after such an operation.
Lewis allowed a pair of inning-starting home runs, but retired the side in order his other four innings while dropping his third straight start. Texas lost 6-3 to the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
"I always want to be better. I always want to go out there and keep my team in the ball game," Lewis said. "I don't think I did that very good in the first half. I feel like I've been a lot more consistent in the second half."
Lewis (8-11) retired the last eight batters he faced, with his only strikeouts against the final two. He allowed four runs and six hits without a walk in six innings.
"Early in the game, he just couldn't get the ball down. But then after that he settled in, and when he left the ballgame we were still in it," manager Ron Washington said. "He's been a huge factor (this season). I think when you look at it, it just shows you his professionalism."
Adrian Beltre had two hits and drove in the first Texas run with a groundout in the first.
Billy Butler started the second inning with a tying homer before Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar — the bottom two batters in the Royals lineup — had consecutive RBI singles. Josh Willingham's leadoff homer in the fourth made it 4-1 as Kansas City won for the 23rd time in 29 games.
Lewis has made a team-high 23 starts and leads Texas with 128 1-3 innings pitched.
"I definitely wanted to be in this position. But it's kind of crazy," Lewis said. "I didn't think I'd be the guy that'd be out there and throw the most innings on the squad having a hip replacement the year before. ... I'm really thankful for the opportunity that the Rangers have given me to come back and take the mound every five days.
"I know I've been inconsistent at times, especially in the first half. I think that's probably due to body adjustment."
ANNIVERSARY NIGHT: It addition to Lewis' milestone, Friday marked seven years that Texas scored a modern-day MLB record with 30 runs against Baltimore in the first game of a doubleheader. It was also the 25th anniversary of Nolan Ryan's 5,000th career strikeout (Oakland's Rickey Henderson).
DARVISH NOT READY: Rangers ace RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow inflammation) is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday, and the original thought was that he would be ready to pitch then. As of Friday, Darvish hadn't even resumed a throwing a program. Texas has RHP Miles Mikolas listed as its starter Monday at Seattle.
Royals: C Salvador Perez was back in the lineup after being scratched from the lineup in Wednesday's game because of discomfort in his right knee. An MRI showed nothing but inflammation. Manager Ned Yost said the sore knee initially concerned Perez, who had surgery two years ago for a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start Sunday, for Triple-A Round Rock at Las Vegas. The Rangers haven't listed a starter for their series finale that day against Kansas City, but seem intent on Holland making at least one more start in the minors before his 30-day rehab assignment ends Thursday.
CONTRASTING NUMBERS: Kansas City has the second-best road record in the AL at 38-28, including 5-2 on this trip. The Rangers have the worst home record in the majors at 23-39, including losses in 31 of their last 44.