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?





Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
Washington71st Qtr 8:52 | Box
Orlando6TV: CSN-DC, FSN-FL
New York 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: TNT
Detroit 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-DET, FSN-N
Utah 10/30 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ROOT-NW, FSN-SW
Oklahoma City 10/30 10:30 PM ET
LA Clippers TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 9Full Scoreboard
Thursday
New Orleans 8:25 PM ET
Carolina TV: NFL Network
Sunday
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: FOX
Arizona 1:00 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Philadelphia 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
NY Jets 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
St. Louis 4:05 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
Denver 4:25 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Baltimore 8:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: NBC
Monday
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
NY Giants TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
Boston01st Prd 15:14 | Box
Buffalo0TV: NESN, MSG-BUF
Winnipeg01st Prd 13:45 | Box
New Jersey0TV: TSN3, MSG
Los Angeles01st Prd 13:35 | Box
Pittsburgh0TV: NHLN, TVA2, FSN-W, ROOT
Chicago 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Ottawa TV: CSN-CH, RDSI, TSN5
Philadelphia 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CSN-PHI, SUN
Arizona 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Florida TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-FL
San Jose 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: CSN-CA, FSN-N+
Anaheim 10/30 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FSN-PT, FSN-MW
NY Islanders 10/30 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: MSG+, Altitude
Montreal 10/30 10:00 PM ET
Vancouver TV: RDS, SN360
Full Scoreboard