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Matt Harrison's victory worth the wait

ARLINGTON, Texas -- In typical low-key fashion, Matt Harrison celebrated his first major league victory in 19 months by praising the play of those around him.

After the Texas Rangers' 5-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night at Globe Life Park, the 28-year-old left-hander credited the defensive plays of teammates and the support four relievers.

But shutting down a team that had pummeled the Rangers for 29 runs in three losses had to have something to do with Harrison holding the Rockies to three hits in 5 1/3 innings, right?

"I was able to make my pitches when I need to," a poker-faced Harrison said. "I started off in a hole a lot, but I was able to make my pitch. It was a big win. They were swinging the bats well, but they hit a few right at 'em and I got away with a few."

A double-play ground ball, something Harrison has induced many times in his Rangers career, proved vital when the Rockies loaded the bases with one out in the second inning of a scoreless game.

"Keeping the ball on the ground keeps our guys on their toes," Harrison said. "I had some great plays behind me. Elvis [Andrus] made two and Adrian [Beltre] had one. Those boost my confidence, too."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Harrison kept the Rockies off-balance. "Harry was spotting his fastball in and out, up and down. They worked him hard, too."

Harrison left in the fifth having thrown 97 pitches.

Two previous starts resulted in no-decisions for Harrison. In his major-league return on April 27, Harrison left with a 5-2 lead in Seattle only to see the bullpen cough it up. Against the Angels in his last previous start, he gave up three runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings and left with a 3-3 score.

The date of Harrison's last major-league victory: Sept. 27, 2012. Various surgeries sidelined him for the almost the entire 2013 season, beginning with an MRI exam that revealed an inflamed nerve his lower back. Additional testing revealed he needed surgery for a herniated disk in his lower back. He attempted to back a comeback in August only to experience numbness in his left hand during a rehab start. He had his upper right rib removed to alleviate nerves that were being pinched.

The road back was long for Harrison.

"I guess it hit me more tonight to get that win at home," he said.