Left-hander Matt Harrison became the first Rangers pitcher to go five innings this spring, allowing one run and one hit, but Joe Mather’s homer in the ninth inning lifted the Cubs to a 3-2 victory and a split of Big League Weekend.
Harrison was scheduled to throw only four innings or 60 pitches, but entered the fifth at only 44 pitches. He finished up with 58 pitches/40 strikes, one walk and five strikeouts.
The lone hit he allowed was a well-placed ground ball down to Dave Sappelt that went for a double to start the fourth. Alfonso Soriano would drive Sappelt home two batters later with a sacrifice fly.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, keep pounding the strike zone and making quality pitches down in the zone,” said Harrison, who has a 1.80 ERA this spring. “I was able to get them in swing mode and could get out of innings with some quick pitch counts.”
Julio Borbon had an RBI single in the third to give the Rangers their only lead of the game. They played without catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who was scratched before the game with tightness on the right side of his back.
Torrealba said that he would have played had it been the regular season and not a split-squad game on a cool, breezy day at Cashman Field.
“We didn’t want to take a chance in this weather,” manager Ron Washington said.
Mather’s homer came off right-hander Sean Green, who is in camp on a minor-league deal. The loss dropped the Rangers’ Cactus League record to 4-11.
-- Jeff Wilson