Harrison zeroed in, Hamilton powers up in Texas Rangers' win

Posted Monday, Apr. 09, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

Mariners at Rangers7:05 tonight, FSSW

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

ARLINGTON -- The undisputed best pitcher in the Texas Rangers' spring camp was Matt Harrison, though he ranked as an also-ran to others on the staff when it came to the amount of attention he received from the media.

That's just fine with the even-tempered left-hander, who quietly posted the second-best ERA among Rangers starters last year during his breakthrough season.

Nothing much changed on the mound Sunday night, though he had to share the spotlight with Josh Hamilton.

Harrison threw six scoreless innings in his 2012 debut, and Hamilton hit a mammoth homer and made two diving catches in center field as the Rangers pitched and popped their way to a 5-0 victory against Chicago.

"I don't know why no one ever talks about this guy," leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler said of Harrison. "He shows that he can pitch. He adds and subtracts with his fastball. He can throw his off-speed pitches for a strike whenever he needs one. He's just a big ol' country boy who loves to play baseball."

The Rangers swatted three homers, as David Murphy and Adrian Beltre joined Hamilton in finding the seats for the first time this season. Those three also had all six of the team's hits with two each.

Murphy started the scoring with a solo shot off Gavin Floyd in the third inning, and Hamilton singled ahead of Beltre's homer in the fourth for a 3-0 cushion. Their 396-foot and 410-foot blasts, though, were dwarfed by the 441-footer Hamilton put into the home-run porch to start the sixth.

"I thought it was going to hit the roof out there," Harrison said.

Hamilton brought the Rangers Ballpark crowd of 45,368 to its feet again a half-inning later, as he sprinted into left field to make a diving catch on a Alejandro De Aza slicer to end the seventh. Hamilton also made a diving grab in right-center to rob A.J. Pierzynski to end the second.

"That's what we expect from Josh and that's why he's playing center field," Kinsler said. "If he approaches every game this season the way he did tonight and the way he has to open the season, he's going to have an incredible season."

Said Hamilton: "I always like the catches better. You're on the other end of the play watching it develop. The home runs just happen so fast."

Harrison retired the first seven White Sox batters and went relatively untested in the first three innings. But he had to strand runners in scoring position in each of his final three innings.

Gordon Beckham started the fourth with a double and was at third with one out, but Harrison speared a Paul Konerko grounder and caught Beckham too far off third base for the second out.

"That was the biggest key of the game," Harrison said. "I just kind of stuck my glove down there, and it went in."

Harrison then stranded Eduardo Escobar after a two-out triple in the fifth, and Konerko was left at second base when Harrison struck out Pierzynski to end the sixth. It was Harrison's third strikeout and his 103rd and final pitch. He allowed four hits and issued two walks, and felt like he did throughout the Cactus League schedule.

"It carried over tonight, definitely so," said Harrison, who went 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last year. "I wish I could have gone a couple more innings, but they fouled a lot of pitches off early in the game. As long as I'm still throwing strikes and making them swing the bat, that's all I care about."

Mark Lowe, Robbie Ross and Koji Uehara worked an inning apiece to complete the shutout. But the heavy lifting had been done by the Rangers' best pitcher this spring.

"And it continued tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's developing. He's really turning into a quality pitcher."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Portland 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Charlotte TV: CSN-NW, SPSO
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CSN-DC, FSN-OH
Golden State 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Orlando TV: CSN-BA, FSN-FL
Brooklyn 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: YES, CSN-PHI
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Atlanta TV: SN 360, SPSO
New York 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN, MSG, FSN-SW
LA Clippers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: FSN-PT, FSN-DET
Sacramento 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CSN-CA, ROOT-SW
Milwaukee 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-WI, FSN-N+
Utah 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City TV: FSN-OK
Indiana 11/26 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: FSN-IN, FSN-SW
Denver 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Phoenix TV: Altitude2, FSN-AZ
Memphis 11/26 10:30 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: NBA TV, SPSO, TWC SN
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Chicago 12:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Seattle 8:30 PM ET
San Francisco TV: NBC
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Monday
Miami 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
NY Islanders TV: CSN-DC+, MSG+
Winnipeg 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: SN1, MSG-BUF
Philadelphia 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: NBCSN, TCN, FSN-DET+
NY Rangers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: MSG 2, SUN
Carolina 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Florida TV: FSN-CAR, FSN-FL
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: TVA Sports, SN, ROOT-PIT
Los Angeles 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-W, FSN-N
Chicago 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: TVA 2, CSN-CH, Altitude
Calgary 11/26 10:30 PM ET
San Jose TV: SN-W, CSN-CA
Full Scoreboard