Some back tightness and a sore hip will not keep Matt Harrison from trying to earn his AL-leading 11th win.
Harrison (10-3, 3.24 ERA) is 6-0 with a 1.66 ERA in eight starts since losing to the Los Angeles Angels on May 12. He's allowed one run over 27 1-3 innings while going 3-0 in his last four starts but left his last outing earlier than expected.
Harrison did not yield a run in a 4-2 win over Colorado, but departed after throwing 74 pitches in five innings because of a sore hip brought on by back tightness.
"They decided to be cautious with it and shut it down to make sure I'm ready for the next start and I don't blow out anything," Harrison told the Rangers' official website.
Apparently healthy and ready, Harrison faces an Oakland team that he's gone 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA against in seven starts. He gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss to the A's on May 17.
The AL West-leading Rangers (48-29) beat Oakland for the ninth time in 11 home games, 7-6 on Thursday. Ian Kinsler had four hits while Josh Hamilton , Adrian Beltre and David Murphy each had two RBIs to help Texas win its third in a row and 15th in 20 overall.
"Their lineup, one through nine, it's one of the best in the big leagues, if not the best, Oakland rookie catcher Derek Norris said. "And any time you put guys on base and give them a free pass, you're just asking for trouble."
Though Texas ranks among the AL leaders with 98 home runs, it did not have one Thursday. Instead, the Rangers stole four bases and drew six walks while recording 14 hits."Some people call it small ball. I call it winning baseball," manager Ron Washington said. "That's just doing what the game asks you to do. We're starting to get back to that. That's what we're doing."
Kinsler is 8 for 14 in the last three games after going 2 for 21 in his previous five. He's batted .478 during an 11-game home hitting streak against the A's.
Averaging 6.6 runs in their last 11 home games versus Oakland, the Rangers get their first look at scheduled starter A.J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00). In his major league debut Sunday, the right-hander gave up a two-run homer and two other hits in six innings of a 4-2 win over San Francisco.
"I just wanted to go out there and give us a good chance to win," Griffin told the Athletics' official website.
Norris had two hits, including his second homer, in the opener. The Oakland catcher is 6 for 19 (.316) with five RBIs in five games since being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 21.
|June 23, 2012||Collin Cowgill||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|June 20, 2012||Brandon McCarthy||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 18, 2012||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Bartolo Colon||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 13, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|June 06, 2012||Andrew Carignan||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
|June 14, 2012||Koji Uehara||Day-to-Day||Strained right lat muscle|
|June 11, 2012||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Craig Gentry thought he ended a rally in the eighth inning.
Instead, the speedy outfielder who came into the game as a late replacement became the latest star for the streaking Texas Rangers .
Gentry's bases-loaded triple in the eighth capped a four-run rally and Matt Harrison pitched eight innings to win his 11th game, lifting the Texas Rangers past the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Friday night.
Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes appeared to misjudge Gentry's deep fly ball with two outs in the eighth. Cespedes took a couple of steps in at first and then sprinted back toward the wall, but the ball easily sailed over his head.
"I knew I hit it decent," said Gentry, who came in as a pinch-hitter for David Murphy in the seventh. "But to be honest, I thought he was going to catch it."
Elvis Andrus singled with one out in the eighth off reliever Grant Balfour (1-2), and Josh Hamilton and Michael Young walked to load the bases.
On a 3-2 pitch, Cruz walked to force in Andrus and cut Oakland's lead to 2-1. Ryan Cook , who had allowed opponents to hit just .102 against him, replaced Balfour and gave up Gentry's game-deciding hit.
The Rangers, who own baseball's best record at 49-29, have won four in a row and 16 of 20 since June 8. They've done this despite having three starting pitchers and two key relievers on the disabled list.
"We weren't hitting the ball that hard early," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But we kept grinding and kept grinding. That's why you play nine innings."
Harrison (11-3) threw a season-high 121 pitches and allowed two runs and eight hits to win his seventh consecutive decision. The left-hander joined Tampa Bay's David Price as the American League's only 11-game winners.
Harrison is making a push for his first All-Star game appearance two days before the teams are announced. He improved to 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six June starts.
"I was fortunate to stay in there long enough to keep us in the game," Harrison said. "I was excited. I can't imagine how Gentry was feeling."
Cespedes was 2 for 4 and improved to 12 for 20 this season against Texas. He drove in Oakland's first run with an RBI single in the fourth.
The Cuban outfielder, though, had a tough time on Gentry's triple. A's manager Bob Melvin couldn't definitely say if Cespedes misjudged the play.
"It looked like he broke in," Melvin said. "I'm not 100 percent sure from my angle. I probably need to look at video."
Oakland rookie A.J. Griffin made his second career start allowed two hits in six shutout innings.
Griffin threw 67 of his 105 pitches for strikes and retired 13 in a row at one point before Hamilton's bloop single in the sixth.
Griffin struck out four and walked two against baseball's top-scoring team. The 24-year-old pitched six innings in his big league debut Sunday against San Francisco. Hamilton and Cruz had the only hits off Griffin, who started the season pitching for Double-A Midland.
"They shut us down the whole game," Gentry said. "We were able to get something going in the eighth inning."
Tanner Scheppers gave up a solo homer to Chris Carter with two outs in the ninth. He retired Seth Smith to end the game and pick up his first career save.
Washington said that eighth-inning reliever Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan weren't available Friday. Nathan and Adams had both pitched the past three games.
" Mike Adams and Joe Nathan needed time down." Washington said. "They needed a break."
Jemile Weeks led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Cespedes' single in the fourth. Coco Crisp had a two-out, RBI single in the fifth to extend Oakland's lead to 2-0.
Notes: Matt Hicks will join the Rangers radio broadcast team Saturday on a temporary basis. Steve Busby has moved from radio to television broadcasts while play-by-play announcer Dave Barnett is out with what he called "complicated migraines." Barnett has been off the air since June 18 when he gave a rambling, incoherent description that confused viewers. Hicks called games for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate for the Houston Astros , since 2004. ... Carter was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. ... Balfour's streak of 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over 10 games ended.