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August 29, 2012

Wrapping up Rangers' 8-4 loss to Rays

Off nights are bound to happen to position players and pitchers throughout the course of the season. Wednesday proved to be a rare off night for Matt Harrison, who has been the most consistent starter for the Texas Rangers this season.

Harrison served up a pair of home runs -- and six runs total -- to the Rays in the first two innings, and the Rangers' offense couldn't bail him out.

"I just flat-out stunk with my location and command," Harrison said. "I put us in a big hole early in the game."

The Rangers made it a game, though, chipping away at the lead. They scored two runs in the bottom of the second, and single runs in the third and fifth to pull to within 6-4.

But the Rays' bullpen shut it down from there. Only one Rangers batter reached the final four innings, as David Murphy led off the ninth with a single against Rays closer Fernando Rodney.

"The strength of that team is pitching," Murphy said. "We feel like we can put runs up against anybody that's out there, but it's not going to happen every single time. They did well tonight."

The Rays also added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth and ninth to make it less stressful on the backend of their bullpen.

"It was nice to push some runs across and make it a ballgame, but six runs is tough when you're facing a good team," Michael Young said.

Here are a few postgame notes:

* Josh Hamilton had a solo homer in the fifth, his 36th of the season. He finished 2-for-3 and has five multi-hit games in his last six games.

* Elvis Andrus had two hits on the night, and set a career-high for most hits in a month (39).

* Texas' lead in the American League West dropped to 4 1/2 games, as Oakland defeated Cleveland tonight. Still, the Rangers have won 10 of their last 12 and completed the 10-game homestand at 7-3.

-- Drew Davison

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