Texas Rangers: Bobby Wilson

Matt Harrison done in by one big mistake

July, 22, 2012
7/22/12
11:35
PM CT


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.

[+] EnlargeMatt Harrison
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireMatt Harrison's night came to an end after he have up a leadoff home run to Bobby Wilson in the seventh.
The left-hander missed on his first two pitches to Wilson and, in an effort to avoid more drama, tossed in an easy fastball.

"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."

Rapid Reaction: Angels 7, Rangers 4

July, 22, 2012
7/22/12
10:22
PM CT


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Matt Harrison lost for only the second time in his last 11 starts Sunday night as the Texas Rangers dropped a 7-4 decision to the Los Angeles Angels. Some quick thoughts:

What it means: The Angels took the rubber match of the three-game series, once again shrinking the Rangers' lead in the division to five games. ... Texas is 4-5 against Los Angeles this season with 10 head-to-head games remaining. The clubs next meet July 30 for the first of a four-game set in Arlington.

In too long: Harrison (12-5) had made 92 pitches through six innings, but manager Ron Washington sent his left-hander back to the mound in the seventh down 3-2. Washington found himself walking to the mound three pitches later after Bobby Wilson belted his first homer since August of last year.

No relief: With the top of the Angels order due up, Washington summoned righty Alexi Ogando hoping to keep the deficit at two runs. Ogando wasn't the answer, giving up four hits -- including a two-run homer to Albert Pujols -- and retiring just one batter before he too was yanked.

Too much pull: David Murphy came close to tying the game in the sixth inning, but hooked a Dan Haren fastball foul down the right field line. It would have been Murphy's first home run this month and first since he hit two on June 27 at home against the Detroit Tigers. More importantly, a home run there would have been the momentum shift the Rangers needed.

Crushed by Cruz: Remember that mammoth shot Nelson Cruz hit here last month? Cruz launched another tape-measure shot at Angel Stadium on Sunday to pull the Rangers to within a run in the fourth inning. The last big homer he hit was a 484-foot blast that landed near the flag poles behind the left-center field wall. This one didn't travel as far, but it was still a no-doubter -- Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos turned around to simply admire it.

Rough stretch: Leadoff batter Ian Kinsler continued his recent struggles at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three ground outs, a strikeout and a walk. Kinsler had two hits Saturday but has only four total in his last 30 at-bats. The second baseman will surely welcome a trip home Monday -- Kinsler is hitting .306 in Arlington this year. Josh Hamilton was 0-for-5 and struck out three times, including to end the game while representing the tying run.

Contained early: The Rangers didn't have as prosperous a beginning as they did Saturday, when they torched the reeling Ervin Santana for six runs and eight hits through the first two innings. Texas didn't get a hit until the 14th batter, Michael Young, lined a single back up the middle.

Bad start: Harrison tried sneaking a 3-and-1 fastball past Mike Trout to open the game but the 20-year-old phenom clearly wasn't up there to looking to walk. Trout lined a triple to the right field corner, scored on Pujols' ground-rule double and, just like that, Harrison got off on the wrong foot.

Up next: Scott Feldman vs. Felix Doubront, 7:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182