video thumbnail

KC@TEX: Rangers hit five homers in the game

ARLINGTON -- Sometimes it helps to have a Hall of Fame pitcher with 5,387 innings pitched under his belt in a team's upper management. It certainly did in the Rangers' 10-1 win on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.

Matt Harrison had been rolling through the Royals' lineup for five scoreless innings when he noticed a blood blister on his hand. After pitching another inning, the Rangers called in an expert.

"I was trying to talk my way into going out there for another inning, but then they called [Rangers club president] Nolan [Ryan] in to look at it, and he said it was best to get it taken care of now," Harrison said. "If it busts open out there on the mound it is only going to make it worse.

"From what I've heard, he's dealt with them his whole career, so I think he knows a thing or two about helping to maintain it."

With Ryan telling Harrison that he needed to sit, the Rangers did not try to push him through another inning.

"He had a blister," manager Ron Washington said. "We didn't want that blister to become a problem. We had a ten run lead right there, so it wasn't necessary to keep pitching him right there. Stop him right there so he doesn't miss the next start."

It must have been tempting, considering the ease with which Harrison was pitching and the huge Rangers lead.

"Excellent again," catcher Mike Napoli said of Harrison's outing. "He was throwing strikes and getting people out. That's the name of the game for us, just throwing up zeroes and keeping us in games."

Harrison did not overwhelm any Royals hitters, only striking out one, but he managed to control the strike zone and force the Royals to make weak contact. Most tellingly, the Royals hit into two double plays, two choppers back to the pitcher and four infield pop flies.

Harrison left the game after giving up five hits and one walk over six innings. The Royals only once reached third base against him.

"The way the ball was flying tonight, I wanted to keep the ball down and I threw a lot of offspeed stuff today," Harrison said. "A lot of curveballs and a lot of changeups. I wasn't very effective with my fastballs."

As well as Harrison pitched in those six innings, Royals starter Sean O'Sullivan pitched just as poorly.

He gave up six runs in the first three innings of work, including back-to-back-to-back home runs to Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Endy Chavez.

"I tried to get as many outs as I could, knowing how deep our bullpen has had to go recently," O'Sullivan said. "Even when they came to take me out of the game, I was telling 'em, 'I'll get this last one if you need me to -- I'll get this last out so you can save some bullets.'

"That was about as fun as it looked."

The Rangers scored at least one run in all but one of the innings O'Sullivan pitched in, as he could not seem to get any breaks in keeping the Rangers offense at bay.

"O'Sullivan had some pitches up in the zone, and we didn't miss them," Washington said. "The one Moreland hit, Beltre went down and got a fastball, Chavez got one. It was just one of those days."

He eventually left the game after 5 2/3 innings, giving up 10 earned runs and 15 hits against just one strikeout.

Yoshinori Tateyama got through the last three innings to earn his first career save, but Washington could not relax at any point after seeing the 14th inning outburst from Friday's game.

"I wasn't comfortable until we got 27 outs," Washington said. "You never know how these guys are going to swing the bats. Last night they put five runs on the board before we could blink. Tateyama did a good job with those three innings."

Nelson Cruz also snapped an 0-for-15 slump with three consecutive hits and a home run. In the five games since both Cruz and Josh Hamilton returned to the lineup, the Rangers offense has seen a sharp uptick in output, as the team has scored 5.8 runs a game.

"With those two guys in our lineup, it's tough for any pitcher to get all the way through it without having some hiccups along the way, even if they don't do anything on that day," Washington said. "Just the fact that they are there and what they can do with one swing of the bat. It does make a difference in our lineup. It makes everyone else better." Comments