Harrison's totally off night costs Rangers a sweep

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

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 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, October 22Full Scoreboard
San Francisco2Bottom 8th | Box
Kansas City7@theBallpark | TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game Two. San Francisco leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, October 22Full Scoreboard
Houston «90Final | Box
Orlando89
Brooklyn86Final | Box
Boston «100
Washington100Final | Box
New York «103
Cleveland92Final | Box
Memphis «96
Minnesota «110Final | Box
Milwaukee91
Atlanta «117Final | Box
San Antonio107
Portland373rd Qtr | Box
LA Lakers50TV: TWC SN, D
Phoenix392nd Qtr 8:46 | Box
LA Clippers38TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, October 22Full Scoreboard
Toronto0Postponed | Box
Ottawa0
Philadelphia «5Final | Box
Pittsburgh3
Washington23rd Prd | Box
Edmonton3TV: SN1, CSN-DC, SN360
Buffalo0Final | Box
Anaheim «1
Full Scoreboard