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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Matt Harrison's success no surprise to Rangers

By Sarah Trotto

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Harrison had one word to describe his nine victories this season.

“Weird,” he said after earning the win as the Texas Rangers edged the San Diego Padres, 2-1, in their interleague series opener Monday night at Petco Park.

Harrison, a 26-year-old left-hander, finished with a career-high 14 victories last season.

Teammate Michael Young was less surprised by Harrison’s win total to this point.

“It’s not shocking at all,” Young said. “What was his ERA last year? A (3.39) ERA in the American League is pretty impressive. Considering the fact he’s young and he’s left-handed and he’s got power stuff, the future is very bright for the guy. We’re lucky to have him on our staff.”

Harrison improved to 9-3 after allowing one run in six innings against the Padres. He gave up six hits -- half of them in the first inning -- and struck out four and walked two.

He limited the Padres to one run in the first after beginning the inning allowing three consecutive hits. Harrison also escaped a jam in the sixth when the Padres loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. Harrison ended the inning by getting pinch hitter Yonder Alonso to ground out.

Manager Ron Washington said Harrison has been growing up.

“The last four weeks he just decided that he was going to put his stamp on it,” Washington said.

Harrison has won his last five decisions and has allowed seven runs in 44 innings over his last six starts, lowering his ERA to 3.41.

“The good thing for our young pitchers, the last couple of years, they’ve developed a lot of big-game experience,” Young said. “There’s nothing like playing in the environments we’ve played in over the last couple years to make a guy grow up pretty quickly.”