Harrison's totally off night costs Rangers a sweep

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

ARLINGTON -- For all the problems Matt Harrison encountered Wednesday night, especially in the first two innings of his 26th start this season, blatant honesty wasn't one of them.

Neither was accountability.

"I sucked tonight," Harrison said after an 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay. "I just flat-out stunk with my location and command, and put us in a big hole early in the game.

"Just a bad night."

Harrison allowed three of the four homers hit by Tampa Bay, including a two-run shot by Evan Longoria and a three-run blow by B.J. Upton, as the Rays avoided a three-game sweep at Rangers Ballpark.

Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton homered for the Rangers before their bats went cold against Tampa Bay's stout bullpen.

The loss left the Rangers with a 4 1/2-game lead in the American League West as they enter their first off day since Aug. 9. They went 7-3 on their 10-game homestand, yet lost a half-game in the standings to Oakland.

"I think this homestand you saw a team that recognizes the stretch drive is right around the corner," veteran Michael Young said. "We've said all along we wanted to improve as the season progressed. I think we've done that."

Harrison (15-8) wasn't right from the start, allowing hits to four of the first five hitters. Included was an RBI double by Ben Zobrist ahead of Longoria's two-run shot to center field.

Harrison admitted that frustration set in after the first inning, and he lost his focus heading into the second inning.

That frame didn't go any better, as the Rays collected a one-out triple from Sam Fuld and a walk by Desmond Jennings before Upton found the seats for a quick 6-0 lead.

"I tried to throw a fastball up in the zone after he missed the second strike," Harrison said. "I didn't get it there, and left it right down the middle. It was just poor execution on my part."

The Rangers made things interesting by scoring the game's next four runs. Moreland started the comeback with a two-run homer in the second, a 426-foot opposite-field shot, and Nelson Cruz brought home Elvis Andrus in the third with a groundout.

Hamilton's 36th homer of the season came in the fifth and brought the Rangers within two runs.

Harrison, though, yielded a homer to Elliott Johnson to start the sixth. Longoria struck again in the ninth, taking Alexi Ogando out for a solo shot.

And that was that. The Rays' bullpen retired 13 of the final 14 batters after starter Alex Cobb was removed after only 4 2/3 innings.

"It's tough when you're down early like that," said outfielder David Murphy, who collected two of the Rangers' nine hits. "Harry had a rare off night. It happens.

"We need to focus on the positive, and that's that we won the series, and just keep playing good baseball. We've been playing well, we've been winning series, and I think that's a good goal to have."

Harrison lost for the second time this season to the Rays, and neither has been close. He allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings, which almost matched an April 27 start in which he allowed seven runs on 14 hits in five innings.

The All-Star could face Tampa Bay again in 11 days.

"Twenty-six hits in two games against the same team isn't very good," Harrison said. "They've had my number the first two starts this year. I just need to make some adjustments, and look at these two games and see what went wrong."

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, images, internet links 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, August 27Full Scoreboard
St. Louis1Final | Box
Pittsburgh «3
Texas «12Final | Box
Tampa Bay «3Final | Box
Washington4Final | Box
Philadelphia «8
Boston2Final | Box
Toronto «5
NY Yankees «8Final | Box
Chicago Cubs5Final | Box
Cincinnati «7
Atlanta «3Final | Box
NY Mets2
Cleveland2Final | Box
Chicago WSox «3
Oakland2Bottom 8th | Box
Houston3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CA, CSN-HOU
Minnesota1Final | Box
Kansas City «6
Milwaukee1Top 7th | Box
San Diego0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, FSN-SD
Los Angeles3Bottom 5th | Box
Arizona1@theBallpark | TV: SportsNet LA, FSN-AZ
Miami1Bottom 4th | Box
LA Angels4@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W
Colorado0Bottom 4th | Box
San Francisco0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-RM, CSN-BA
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, August 27Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 5Full Scoreboard
Atlanta 6:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CW69, WUPA
Detroit 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: WXYZ7, WKBW
Indianapolis 7:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: WNDY, CBS12
Kansas City 7:00 PM ET
Green Bay TV: NBC, KCTV
St. Louis 7:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS4
NY Jets 7:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: NFL Network, CBS2, 6ABC
New England 7:30 PM ET
NY Giants TV: WBZ
Carolina 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: Panthers TV, KDKA, CBS2
Washington 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: NBC4, CSN-DC, WFLA
Chicago 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: FOX32, WKYC
Denver 8:00 PM ET
Dallas TV: KUSA, KTVT, CBS11
San Francisco 8:00 PM ET
Houston TV: KPIX 5, KTRK
Baltimore 8:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: WBAL, CST
Minnesota 8:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: KARE 11, WKRN
Seattle 10:00 PM ET
Oakland TV: NFL Network, Q13FOX, KTVU
Arizona 10:00 PM ET
San Diego TV: ABC-15, KFMB
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, August 27Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard