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Rich Harden saves himself

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers starter Rich Harden had one of his best starts of the season on Wednesday night.

Harden got a no-decision against the Orioles after going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Harden threw 103 pitches, with 67 strikes.

His only bad inning was the second, where despite striking out the side Harden allowed two runs on four hits.

"I thought Rich threw the ball well," manager Ron Washington said. "At least he was throwing strikes and the runs that they got, they earned."

Was Harden in danger of losing his spot in the rotation?

He came in 2-1 with a 4.93 ERA and was terrible in his last start, May 14 at Toronto. He allowed seven earned runs on just four hits in 2 2/3 innings. Harden left the game leading, 9-7, but he was down in the dumps.

"That’s something I try not to think about," Harden said of possibly losing his place in the rotation. "Coming off the last start, I had a lot of time to think. It was probably the longest five days of my life right there just because I had been inconsistent ... and I felt like I was getting back on track my last two starts. That Toronto start was just awful."

In his two previous outings before the Toronto game, Harden pitched 12 innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits. He earned his second win of the year May 3 at Oakland.

That Toronto start set everything back. Harden was asked if he felt like he had a sense of urgency on Wednesday night?

"Yeah, it's just the inconsistency," he said. "So far I want to go out there and pitch well for this team and do what I can do. I haven’t been pitching like I'm capable of. Still, I'm making progress. I wanted to go out there and be aggressive."