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Lewis sets tone for batting by a pitcher

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WASHINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis had an RBI single on Friday night in the Rangers' 9-2 loss to the Nationals. He is 6-for-22 in his career for a .273 batting average as a pitcher.

That's the third highest batting average by an American League pitcher with a minimum of 20 at-bats since Interleague Play began in 1997. Andy Sonnanstine hit .318 (7-for-22) in 2007-11 and Eric Milton hit .300 (6-for-20) in 1998-02.

Rangers pitchers were hitless in 23 at-bats before Lewis singled on Friday. Their last hit was by Yu Darvish on June 20, 2012, against the Padres.

"I would have traded it for a win, that's for sure," Lewis said. "You know me, I like to hit, but I would have traded it for a win."

Lewis also now has five RBIs at the plate. That's tied for third among AL pitchers in the Interleague era. CC Sabathia has nine RBIs and Felix Hernandez has seven. Lewis is tied with Mike Mussina, who is retired, and Josh Beckett, who is now in the National League.

Lewis has four of the Rangers' last seven hits from a pitcher in Interleague Play, even though that was his first game in a NL city since 2011. He also has five of the Rangers' 16 RBIs from a pitcher since Interleague Play began.

Lewis' three-game hitting streak is tied for the second longest by a Rangers pitcher. Mike Paul had a four-game hitting streak in 1972, the year before the designated hitter was introduced. Sabathia had the longest hitting streak for an AL pitcher in Interleague Play with a seven-game streak in 2003-06 while with the Indians.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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