One run is all you need when the pitcher is doing his job.
The Texas Rangers just proved that and shoot for a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight from the Ballpark in Arlington.
Although he did not record a decision, Rangers starter Matt Harrison remained unbeaten (4-0) in his last six starts Wednesday in a 1-0 triumph. Harrison kept the D-backs off the scoreboard over 7 1/3 innings, struck out three and walked a pair of batters. Harrison was relieved by Mike Adams with one out in the eighth inning and the latter tacked on the win.
"I think it's just the aggressiveness and my tempo has been a lot better," said Harrison. "I feel good with my tempo right now so it's making me concentrate more on my pitches and just trying to throw strikes."
Joe Nathan then took the hill in the ninth and struck out two for his 13th save. Craig Gentry's single in the eighth inning was the only run of the ballgame, as the Rangers recorded their third straight win and fourth in the previous five tries.
Texas still leads the American League West by 3 1/2 games over the LA Angels of Anaheim, who defeated the Dodgers last night.
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was not in the starting lineup for a third straight game because of an Achilles injury and a case of the flu. He has pinch-hit a few times in that stretch and could return to full-time action this evening. Cruz is batting .260 with eight homers and 36 RBI this season.
"I feel good. I feel kind of sore, but I feel like I can play," Cruz said on the ballclub's website. "I fell asleep the night before and I got up at about 2 in the morning with a fever, so I went to the doctor. Since yesterday, I don't feel a fever."
Texas will continue its homestand this weekend with three games against the local Houston Astros.
Rangers starter Scott Feldman was involved in one of his worst outings on June 4, a 12-1 loss at Oakland in which he was drilled for eight runs and seven hits over just 1 2/3 innings. Feldman returned to the mound poised to redeem himself in Saturday's 5-2 loss at San Francisco, but suffered his fifth consecutive loss by allowing three runs -- two earned -- in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rangers are hoping they can give Feldman some support this evening. Feldman is 0-5 with a 7.40 ERA in his last five outings for Texas, which hasn't scored more than three runs in any of his last five strips to the hill. The right-hander has faced Arizona twice in his career, one of which was a start, and has no record and a 4.05 ERA through 6 2/3 innings of work.
Arizona will try to avoid the sweep tonight and has dropped two straight since winning five in a row and seven of eight games.
Wade Miley pitched well in Wednesday's 1-0 setback, but was unfortunately tagged with the loss for allowing the only run of the game. Miley lasted 7 2/3 frames, struck out eight batters and issued one walk.
"That's the way the game is, they executed when it counted," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. "But we have another game tomorrow so we'll regroup and see how it goes."
Justin Upton had a game-best two hits and Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-4. Goldschmidt is 0-for-7 since having his 17-game hitting streak come to an end on Tuesday. The Diamondbacks are still 8-4 in their last 12 games and sit nine games behind the Dodgers for the NL West lead.
Willie Bloomquist doubled last night and has reached base safely in 20 straight games. He has hit safely in 18 of those contests since May 14.
The Diamondbacks will resume their road trip over the weekend with three games against the Angels at the Big A. They hope Daniel Hudson's start tonight lasts a bit longer than his previous one, as the right-hander is set to make his seventh appearance of the season. Hudson is coming off the shortest outing of his career as a starter and tossed 1 2/3 innings during a 9-8 win over Oakland on Friday. He was torched for six runs and eight hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk.
Hudson's teammate Ryan Roberts bailed him out with a walk-off home run.
"Guys really picked me up tonight. We can walk away happy," Hudson said. "I didn't have the best command, they just put some good swings on it. Couple inches here or there, it was just one of those nights."
The right-hander, who was on the disabled list with a shoulder issue this season, is 2-1 in six starts with a 6.06 earned run average. Hudson tossed eight innings of two-run ball at San Diego before his implosion versus Oakland, and is 1-0 in two road starts this season. He has never faced Texas.
Arizona lost two of three versus Texas in 2009 in the desert and has lost 11 of the previous 14 matchups between the two clubs. The Rangers are 6-2 in interleague play this season and have won 28 of their last 40 games against the National League. Arizona is 5-3 in interleague action in 2012.