Rally gives Matt Harrison 11th win
Harrison, who left his last start with stiffness in his back, put up another stellar performance, giving up just two runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in eight innings in front of announced crowd of 46,013 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to earn his 11th win of the season, which ties for the Major League lead.
"Harry did an outstanding job," manager Ron Washington said. "I couldn't ask more than what Harry did."
It looked like Harrison was going to be on the wrong side of a pitcher's duel, but the Rangers offense broke through with four runs in the eighth to put him in line for the win.
"Our team can explode at anytime," Harrison said. "And they did it tonight in the eighth inning. You never know when it's going to happen, so I was just going to try to put up as many zeros as I could. I made a couple of mistakes in the fourth and fifth inning, but I was able to keep it close."
Harrison allowed a run in each the fourth and fifth innings as Oakland was able to capitalize when it got guys in scoring position.
But from there, it was all Harrison. The left-hander had his sinker working, allowing ground ball after ground ball, including two 6-4-3 double plays. He had it all in those eight innings, and it was needed. The Texas bullpen was thin Friday with closer Joe Nathan and setup man Mike Adams getting a day off for rest.
"I knew it was going to be a short pen down there," Harrison said. "I was just trying to get as deep into the game as possible. I figured I would get a few extra pitches if I was able to have some quick innings."
And that he did. Harrison had just one inning where he faced more than four batters, including three 1-2-3 innings. He totaled 121 pitches on the night to continue a successful month. Harrison is 5-0 in June.
"It's been a good month for me," Harrison said. "I've figured out a lot of things. I've been able to execute with guys on base and keeping the damage to a minimum."
What he's also done is put his name right in the All-Star mix. There is certainly case for Harrison to make the American League All-Star team, and Washington, the AL's manager for the annual game, had a front row seat to see what Harrison had.
"He's pitched like an All-Star all year," Washington said. "He stepped up big for us in an area where we needed him. Our bullpen was drained. ... Harry helped get it done by giving us eight."
It sounds like his manager was impressed. Was it enough to get him in the All-Star game? We'll see soon enough. For now, Harrison will take his league-leading 11 wins.
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