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June 24, 2012

Wrapping up Rangers 4-2 victory over Rockies (Matt Harrison expects to make next start)

Matt Harrison left the game after the fifth inning with what team physician Keith Meister diagnosed as lower back tightness on his left side.

Harrison wanted to stay in the game after throwing five scoreless innings and sitting at only 74 pitches. But manager Ron Washington wasn't going to risk it, as the Rangers already have four pitchers on the disabled list.

Harrison said his back tightness isn't serious, and he expects to make his next start. Additionally, Harrison would be honored to get a coveted All-Star Game nod, and he's certainly put himself in consideration.

Harrison is among the American League leaders with 10 wins, and he is 6-0 with a 1.26 ERA over his last seven starts.

Here are a few other postgame notes on what ended up being a dramatic night at Rangers Ballpark:

* Joe Nathan, who hadn't allowed a run since May 13, came in to close out what was a 4-0 game. It didn't go quite as easy as expected, as the first four Rockies batters reached on a single, walk, hit by pitch and RBI single. Carlos Gonzalez then sent a shot to leftfield, but Josh Hamilton tracked it down and made a leaping catch. It turned what could have been a game-tying hit into a sacrifice fly. Nathan eventually closed it out, and the Rangers have won eight of their last nine games.

* The Rangers got the second out in the ninth when they caught Marco Scutaro in a run down between first and second after Nathan's pitch bounced off catcher Mike Napoli. However, Scutaro got out of it and slid into second safely. But Scutaro thought he had been called out, left the bag and was tagged out by Elvis Andrus. That was a pivotal play in the game, as the Rockies could have had runs at second and third with one out.

* The victory clinched the Rangers fifth consecutive series win. It was also a sellout at Rangers Ballpark, the 22nd of the season. That sets a franchise record. The team also passed the 1.5-million fan mark for the season on home date No. 35, the quickest in franchise history.

* Mike Adams worked around a two-out double in a scoreless eight in what was an emotional night for him. Earlier in the day, he found out that San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds passed away. Adams had grown close to Akerfelds when he was with the Padres from 2008-11. “I’m not going to lie, it was tough,” said Adams, who had Akerfelds’ initials on his hat. “When I was in the game, it was hard to block that out. I’ve known him for a while, and at least he’s not suffering any more.”

-- Drew Davison

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