ARLINGTON, Texas – The Colorado Rockies had plenty of chances against the powerful Texas Rangers.
However, the Rockies didn't score until a ninth inning that included a baserunning blunder in a 4-2 loss Sunday night.
Colorado had runners on in every inning and loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Joe Nathan. The Texas closer was working in a non-save situation after not giving up any runs in 16 appearances since May 13.
Marco Scutaro had an RBI single, and Carlos Gonzalez hit a long fly that left fielder Josh Hamilton caught in the gap on the warning track. The sacrifice fly cut the deficit in half.
"He showed the clutch part of him when he got that base hit against Nathan," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said of Scutaro.
But then Scutaro made a huge mistake.
With Jason Giambi batting, and Michael Cuddyer waiting to pinch-hit, a ball ricocheted away from catcher Mike Napoli. Scutaro got caught in a rundown but slid into second base under the tag and was signaled safe. But he inexplicably popped off the base and was tagged out by shortstop Elvis Andrus. Giambi then struck out to end the game.
"For some reason I just bounced. I don't know if Andrus pushed me or I hit the bag and bounced back. I don't know," Scutaro said. "I'm not sure why I bounced back the way I did."
All Tracy saw was the umpire signal safe, and Scutaro going back toward first base.
"I don't know why he did that," the manager said.
Alex White (2-6) lost his third straight decision for the Rockies, who were 2-13 against the American League. The righty allowed four runs and six hits on 78 pitches over 2 2-3 innings.
Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison worked five scoreless innings and matched the American League lead with his 10th victory. His outing was cut short because of tightness in his lower back that caused soreness in his left hip.
"It was no big deal," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He will make his next start. There's no assumption."
When Harrison (10-3) got to the dugout after the fifth, he huddled with Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddux and a trainer. He pleaded to keep pitching, telling them he was fine.
"I ended up telling them what was going on and they decided to be cautious with it," Harrison said. "Go ahead and shut it down and make sure I'm ready for my next start and not go out there and blow out anything."
Leonys Martin had his first three RBIs in the majors on a pair of two-out hits. The Cuban defector who signed with the Rangers last year had an RBI double in the second and a two-run triple an inning later.
Texas finished a majors-best 14-4 in interleague play, winning all six of its series against National League teams.
Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Mike Adams each pitched a scoreless inning for the Rangers before Nathan took over.
Colorado, which ended its longest road trip of the season 3-6, had runners on in each of its five innings against Harrison. The Rockies also had someone reach against each reliever.
Wilin Rosario had an inning-ending grounder after the Rockies had two singles in the first, then they left the bases loaded in the second when Scutaro grounded out. Harrison benefited from three double plays while facing the minimum nine batters over his last three innings.
Harrison gave up five singles and threw 49 of his 74 pitches for strikes. He struck out three, walked two and hit a batter.
"He was really good. He had a good two-seam fastball," Tracy said. "You can see why left-handed batters are hitting .162 against him. ... He used his breaking pitch enough, and his changeup was exceptional."
The Rockies have gone 17 games since one of their starting pitchers won a game. They are halfway through the first time through the rotation since Tracy's decision a week ago to go to a four-man rotation.
Jeremy Guthrie, the starter whose unexpected struggles led to Tracy trying four starters, pitched 3 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of White.
NOTES: The Rangers surpassed 1.5 million in attendance with their franchise-record 22nd sellout of the season. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre has one less error, and Tigers 2B Chris Nelson has another double. There was a scoring change from Saturday, when Beltre was initially charged with an error after he obviously lost sight of Nelson's hard liner that went into left field. ... Nelson (swollen ankle) didn't play Sunday.