Published May 01, 2011
After watching his team's shaky defense fall apart again, Washington has bigger issues on his plate.
Harrison gave up four runs in 1 2-3 innings and Texas couldn't get much going against Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez and four relievers, losing to the Athletics 7-2 on Sunday.
"Matt Harrison threw us three pretty good ballgames (and) had two bad ones," Washington said. "He'll get the ball next time. I don't think there's anyone in this clubhouse that feels more bad about not going out there giving their team a chance than Matt Harrison. I'm not disappointed in Harrison, he just didn't get it done."
Coco Crisp doubled on Harrison's second pitch and things went downhill quickly from there. Two batters later, Crisp scored on Conor Jackson's two-run double down the right-field line, then Kurt Suzuki singled through a drawn-in infield to give the A's a 3-0 lead.
Crisp, back hitting leadoff in Oakland's lineup after missing three games with a sore left quadriceps, made it 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second.
Harrison, who lasted just three innings in his previous start against Toronto, was gone two batters later after Daric Barton doubled and Jackson walked to load the bases.
"I've just got to be more focused when I get on the field," said Harrison, who walked two with one strikeout. "I have to keep things simple, not try to think about too much or what's happened these past two starts. When I came into spring training, I trusted my stuff. I don't think I'm trusting my stuff right this second."
The Rangers shouldn't be too trusting of their defense, for that matter.
Texas committed three errors that led to a pair of unearned runs for Oakland. That gave the Rangers 25 errors this season, tied with the A's for most in the AL.
Those miscues helped Oakland break out of an offensive slump and score more than six runs for only the fourth time this season.
Jackson had two hits and two RBIs, Crisp added two hits in his return to the lineup and Suzuki had two RBIs to help the A's, who also got a solid outing from Gonzalez.
Gonzalez (3-2) scattered five hits with seven strikeouts over 6 2-3 innings to win for the first time since April 9. The left-hander didn't give up a hit until the fourth and allowed only three runners past second base.
Gonzalez snapped a three-start skid by holding down the Rangers a day after Texas tagged Oakland ace Brett Anderson for seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
"My last two outings were a little off-balance, kind of like rushing and doing more than I should have been doing in the beginning," Gonzalez said. "Today I tried to stay back and work on attacking the strike zone and working on the glove."
It was Oakland's offense — and Texas' shoddy defense — that made the biggest difference.
Crisp provided a spark after sitting out three games with a sore left quadriceps while Jackson continued his recent tear. Jackson is hitting .360 with four extra-base hits and seven RBIs over his last seven games.
Harrison's quick exit marked the third straight game in which he's struggled after opening the season with consecutive wins over the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees. His ERA has spiked from 1.23 to 4.59 since then, and his loss to the A's was his first in four career starts against Oakland.
"I've got to keep that confidence level up to forget about what happened and know that I have good enough stuff," Harrison said.
The A's added two runs off Dave Bush in the third after Suzuki reached on a throwing error by shortstop Elvis Andrus to open the inning. Hideki Matsui followed with a run-scoring double, then scored on Cliff Pennington's two-out single to center.
Typical of Texas' day, first baseman Mike Napoli tumbled hard into the Rangers' dugout while chasing Jackson's foul ball in the seventh but was unable to make the catch. He stayed on the ground for a few moments but remained in the game.
Suzuki singled in Willingham two batters later to make it 7-2.
NOTES: The run scored by Matsui in the third was the 1,500th of his career combined between Japan and the United States. ... The Rangers are 1-2 on this seven-game, two-city road trip ... RHP Ryan Tucker threw a scoreless inning for Texas after making his Rangers debut on Friday.