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March 19, 2011

Indians 12, Rangers 6 (F)

Matt Harrison became the third left-hander in the hunt for the starting rotation to suffer a poor outing this week, allowing four runs in four mostly wild innings Friday but leaving with a lead before Cleveland rallied past the Rangers at Goodyear Ballpark.

Harrison, who had allowed only one run entering his fourth Cactus League start, walked four batters, hit another in the head and threw three wild pitches. The Indians scored once in the first, twice in the second and once in the fourth on a homer by Asdrubal Cabrera as Harrison logged 88 pitches. 

"That's way too many pitches in four innings," Harrison said. "From the get-go it was a walk. It took me until the fourth inning to find a relief point I was comfortable with. You're going to have bad games. But I was trying to everything I could to keep us in the game."

Derek Holland allowed four runs in four innings Tuesday against the LA Dodgers, and Michael Kirkman allowed nine (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings Thursday against San Diego. Right-hander Tommy Hunter allowed seven runs (four earned) on Sunday, but he is expected to be in the starting rotation.

"I don't know if they could have kept up what they were doing," manager Ron Washington said. "They've hit a bad spot, and they're going to have to work and get out it."

Harrison received early run support from an unlikely source. Elvis Andrus, the second hitter of the game, drove a pitch over the left-field wall for a solo homer. The All-Star shortstop hit one homer last spring, but he hasn't gone deep in his past 696 regular-season at-bats.

David Murphy hit a solo homer in the fifth to put the Rangers and Harrison in the league, but the Indians struck for three in the bottom of the inning against Cody Eppley.

Cleveland put the game out of reach in the seventh, scoring four rums off Mark Lowe. The right-hander, an in-house candidate to replace Neftali Feliz at closer if he makes the bullpen, has allowed 11 earned runs in seven innings this spring for an ERA of 14.14.

"No one feels worse than Mark," said manager Ron Washington, who indicated that Lowe is working on a curveball to get hitters off his fastball and slider. "We're going to give him the ball as much as we can down here and hope he gets out of it. We’ll see how it goes the next time he gets the ball."

-- Jeff Wilson

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