ARLINGTON, Texas -- Overall, Tuesday's start against the Cleveland Indians was an improvement for Matt Harrison. The lefty came into the game having allowed 12 runs (10 of them earned) in his previous two outings. And he didn't pitch particularly deep in either of them.
Harrison was perfect through three innings Tuesday, breezing through the Indians lineup the first time through the order. But two straight walks in the fourth slowed Harrison's rhythm and efficiency. He then gave up runs in the fifth and sixth and manager Ron Washington saw too many balls up in the zone.
"I just wasn't going to take a chance right there," Washington said.
That's why he pulled Harrison with a runner in scoring position and two outs in the sixth inning and put Alexi Ogando in. The reliever got out of the jam. But Harrison earned the win and felt that some of the adjustments he made between starts helped. He was also thankful for the additional few days of rest he was given. Roy Oswalt started in his place Sunday, pushing Harrsion back to Tuesday.
"It's definitely a lot better than the last two," Harrison said. "I can say those extra couple of days definitely helped out and got my legs back under me. It was a positive note tonight and hopefully I can continue that to Sunday."
Harrison said he wanted to pitch deeper into the game and felt like a few mistakes in the fifth and sixth hurt his ability to do that. He said he felt his fastball command was pretty good, but he didn't have his curveball.
"I think I kept my fastball down in the zone and commanded it in and out," Harrison said. "That opened up other avenues with breaking balls when I was ahead in the count. The last start, I was commanding the strike zone, they just fouled a lot of pitches off and got my pitch count up ealry. Tonight, they were putting those balls in play."