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March 29, 2012

Matt Harrison shines, but Rangers lose to Giants

Matt Harrison allowed only one earned run over six innings in his final Cactus League start, and Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland swatted back-to-back homers in the second inning to provide the Rangers’ only offense in a 6-2 loss to San Francisco.

Harrison logged 91 pitches (64 strikes) and continued to be the Rangers’ best pitcher this spring. He finished with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings. He also worked six scoreless innings last weekend in a minor-league game.

Harrison will pitch three or four innings Tuesday against a minor-league team from Mexico City in his final tune-up for the regular season. His first regular-season start will be April 8 against Chicago.

“I think I’ve been really consistent in that I’ve been pounding the strike zone and getting ahead of guys,” said Harrison, who struck out seven. “Strikeouts are good, but I’m just trying to get guys out as fast as I can.”

Three relievers vying for a bullpen spot all struggled to some degree against the Giants.

Yoshinori Tateyama entered with a 2-1 lead in the seventh but surrendered three runs, although the defense behind him didn’t help much. He issued four runs in his previous outing.

Left-hander Michael Kirkman’s eighth inning was prolonged by an error, which led to a Giants run, but he also surrendered a double to the left-handed-hitting Brandon Belt.

Koji Uehara allowed a homer to Joaquin Arias to start the ninth, but retired the next three hitters in order.

Mark Lowe struggled earlier in the day in a minor-league game, giving up three runs.

Manager Ron Washington said that the decision on the bullpen spots will likely come down to the 11 a.m. Wednesday roster deadline.

“We need to see them keep competing and start getting some outs,” Washington said. “What we’ve got is what we’ve got.”

-- Jeff Wilson


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