Matt Harrison done in by one big mistake
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The pressure had been on Matt Harrison for the better part of six innings Sunday night. Five leadoff batters had reached base and he had been tagged for seven hits, already two more than he had allowed in a complete-game effort in his previous start. Harrison hadn't dealt with high-tension situations in recent outings and, with the Texas Rangers trailing by a run and opposing pitcher Dan Haren out of the game, he didn't want another stressful inning, especially with No. 9 batter Bobby Wilson in the box to start the seventh.
"My biggest mistake," Harrison said of Wilson's home run, the catcher's first in nearly a year.
The Angels went up 4-2, Harrison was pulled from the game and the Rangers eventually fell, 7-4, and lost two of three to the Los Angeles Angels.
"I kind of dropped my guard," said Harrison, who lost for only the second time in his last 11 starts.
Manager Ron Washington thought Harrison pitched well given that he seemingly had at least one runner on base any time he toed the rubber. The four earned runs were the most Harrison (12-5) has surrendered since May 12 against these same Angels -- a span of 13 starts.
"He kept us in the ballgame," Washington said. "We just couldn't shut it down in the bullpen."
Alexi Ogando, who struck out two in a scoreless inning Saturday, came in for Harrison and got Mike Trout to fly out, the only time the 20-year-old rookie didn't reach base Sunday.
Then it all fell apart.
Torii Hunter singled, Albert Pujols homered and Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick each singled before Washington made a change. The Angels stretched their lead to 6-2 in the seventh inning.
"He'll figure it out," Washington said of Ogando.
Harrison said he had good movement on his pitches and, even though he was coming off two consecutive complete games, fatigue was not an issue.
It was a mental lapse that did him in.
"Some frustrating parts to it, but it was just one of those games," Harrison said. "I had to battle the whole game. Hopefully I'll go out next time and get better."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the magnitude of Monday's win against Oakland, how he plans on using Jurickson Profar and how to handle a struggling ballclub.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' six-game losing streak and how to get out of their slump.
Play Podcast General manager Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' offensive struggles, injuries and the plan for Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the Rangers and a potential game-changing trade target for Jon Daniels and company.
Play Podcast Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, the mistakes the team has been making and possible trades.
Play Podcast Steve Busby joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the Rangers' road trip, surviving an 18-inning game and more.
Play Podcast Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Texas Rangers, explains on Galloway & Company the bullpen situation that forced Ron Washington's hand in the Boston finale.