June 13, 2012

Harrison sets table for Rangers' victory with dominant effort

Matt Harrison pitches 7 1/3 scoreless innings to continue his recent mastery while Craig Gentry delivers the deciding hit in the eighth.

ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison didn't factor into the decision Wednesday night, but everybody in the Texas Rangers clubhouse knew his contributions.

His 7 1/3 scoreless innings were necessary to put Craig Gentry in position to come through with a game-deciding hit in the eighth. Gentry broke up a scoreless game with a two-out single, and that was all the Rangers needed for a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers have thrown three shutouts the past five games, matching the total they had in their first 58 games.

"I thought our pitching staff did an unbelievable job, starting with Harry," Gentry said. "We needed to get a run across right there [in the eighth]."

Harrison turned in quite an encore performance to his last start, a complete-game shutout, as well as following Colby Lewis' complete-game victory on Tuesday.

Harrison retired the first six batters, and then worked out of jams the next four innings. He gave up a one-out single to Justin Upton in the fourth, but ended that threat by inducing an inning-ending double play by Paul Goldschmidt.

After a 29-minute rain delay going into the fifth, Harrison worked around a two-out single by Miguel Montero. He escaped another jam in the sixth with a groundout by Goldschmidt after Aaron Hill reached on a walk and Upton singled to put runners at first and second with two outs.

Harrison's night ended when he gave up a one-out double to Willie Bloomquist on pitch No. 95 in the eighth.

Harrison didn't want to come out after allowing only six hits with two walks and three strikeouts, but understood manager Ron Washington's decision.

Washington brought in Mike Adams for the righty-righty matchup against Hill and Upton.

"That situation right there, with it 0-0 and two righties coming up, it was the right move," Harrison said. "You never want to come out of the game, but it was the right move."

Adams made the decision pay off, forcing Hill to fly out and striking out Upton swinging. The strikeout of Upton generated a sequence of fist pumps by Adams, Washington and catcher Yorvit Torrealba.

"That's a big situation," said Adams, who earned his first win of the season. "If he gets a base hit there, it's 1-0 in their favor and momentum goes to them. We were able to go into our half-inning with a little bit of adrenaline and the guys came through."

The Rangers didn't create many opportunities the first seven innings against D'backs rookie left-hander Wade Miley, who became the hard-luck loser. He retired 21 of the first 23 batters he faced before issuing a leadoff walk to Mike Napoli in the eighth.

Napoli moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Torrealba, and then the Rangers pinch-hit Nelson Cruz for Brandon Snyder. Cruz struck out on three pitches, bringing up Gentry.

Gentry ripped a fastball down the third-base line that skipped off Ryan Roberts' glove and into left field. Napoli slid home safely well before Gerardo Parra's throw got to the plate.

Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save of the season.

"Tonight it only took one run," Washington said. "It only took one hit in the right situation. They out-hit us, but we outscored them. That's the name of the game."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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