Long ball dooms Matt Harrison in loss

ARLINGTON, Texas -- With the way the Texas Rangers' offense is struggling right now, Matt Harrison needed a good start to give them a chance. However, he struggled and the Chicago White Sox clinched the series with the 5-1 victory Saturday night.

Harrison looked sharp through the first three innings before the White Sox began to get good swings off of him in the fourth.

Adam Dunn hit a one-out single to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was playing in the outfield grass. Kinsler got a glove on the ball but was unable to make a play, and Dunn was awarded a hit. Paul Konerko, the next batter, took advantage and belted a no-doubt home run to left field.

Harrison said he missed the fastball to Konerko over the middle of the plate.

Chicago added three more runs in fifth for a 5-0 lead.

Jordan Danks hit a one-out single and scored on a RBI double from Eduardo Escobar, but the speedy Escobar wasn't quite fast enough -- he was thrown out at third trying for a triple. Harrison followed that up with a walk to Kevin Youkilis before he made another costly error that Dunn hit for a two-run shot to straightaway center.

"I should've just kept pitching him in," Harrison said. "I was making my pitches in and was getting some weak contact. Then, I tried to go down and away on him and he got his arms extended. With a guy that big, when he gets his arms extended, he's going to put the ball pretty far in the outfield."

The left-hander gave up five runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in seven innings for his sixth loss of the year. It's the second non-quality start for Harrison in a row after recording nine in the previous 10 starts.

"I felt like there were two or three pitches I made mistakes on," Harrison said. "Two of them were home runs. I felt like there were some good pitches I made and they put some good swings on them. The first three innings were really good. ... It was just a rough start, but that's the way it goes. You've got to move on."

That's exactly what the Rangers need him to do. With Colby Lewis being out for the remainder of the season, Texas needs Harrison to be the consistent force who earned a trip to his first All-Star Game.

Depending on what the Rangers front office decides to do as the trade deadline approaches, Harrison, with the season he has had, could fill the first spot in the rotation when it matters most -- in the playoffs.

There's no doubt they need him to return to his earlier season form. The sooner the better for both Harrison and the Rangers.