Colby Lewis' performance Thursday was nearly as good as C.J. Wilson a night earlier and set a little Texas Rangers history along the way.
Only this time the Rangers wasted the strong outing, capping a frustrating 2-5 road trip.
Lewis and Wilson, who struck out 12 in Texas' 5-2 victory Wednesday night, became the first Rangers pitchers to throw consecutive complete games since Rick Helling and Doug Davis in October 2001. Jose Guzman and Nolan Ryan were the last Texas duo to post consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts, accomplishing the feat against the New York Yankees in 1992.
While it's great notes for the Rangers record book, it didn't mean much to manager Ron Washington after Texas failed to come up with key hits again.
"We had the right people at the plate many times on this road trip and just didn't produce," Washington said. "You can dissect that all you want, but it comes down to Vargas tonight. We could have had any approach we wanted tonight, but he was hitting dots out there and doing exactly what he wanted."
Vargas (2-2) allowed one run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings. The left-hander has won his last two starts after dropping his previous nine decisions.
He left with Ian Kinsler standing at third base after Kinsler's RBI double finally got the Rangers on the board. Jamey Wright entered and walked Michael Young, but Adrian Beltre grounded to shortstop to end the threat.
"We are hitting a lot of balls hard, right at guys on occasion," Kinsler said. "It seems like we can't build an inning right now. It's frustrating. We want to get going."
It's especially frustrating since Lewis pitched so well. He gave up Smoak's homer in the second, Luis Rodriguez's run-scoring double in the third and Ichiro Suzuki's two-out RBI single in the seventh.
Smoak finished with three hits, including a long double in the fourth to the deepest part of the park. Otherwise, Lewis was barely touched while pitching eight innings for the second consecutive start. He gave up eight hits and walked one.
"I got burned two times tonight with my fourth pitch, the changeup, to Smoak and the double to Rodriguez," Lewis said. "Other than that, I felt I threw the ball really good. Even those pitches were down in the zone."
Vargas used his off-speed pitches to keep Texas guessing and allowed just one runner to reach third base before the eighth. Vargas also benefited from key double plays started by shortstop Brendan Ryan in the fourth and sixth, and a great diving stop by second baseman Jack Wilson to rob Pedro Borbon of a single that would have put runners on the corners with one out in the fifth.
"He really didn't give us a chance to get the barrel on it," Washington said. "He changed speeds and kept the ball on the ground and when we got it in the air it was lofted."
NOTES: Seattle 3B Chone Figgins was a late scratch after feeling ill. He was replaced in the lineup by Rodriguez. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz missed his second straight game with a tight right quad, but is hopeful of playing this weekend against the New York Yankees. Cruz was held out in part because of the chilly weather. ... Texas is expected to activate closer Neftali Feliz from the disabled list Friday. He's been on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
Tim Booth can be reached at http://twitter.com/tjbooth7