ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Over the past six weeks, Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison has pitched through a kidney stone, missed a start because of a blister on his index finger and taken a liner off his left arm.
So Friday night was an easy one.
Harrison pitched seven strong innings and the Rangers hit three home runs in an 8-1 win over the New York Mets.
“It’s nice not to have to pitch with a kidney stone or a blister, or a bruise on my arm,” Harrison said with a smile. “It’s kind of nice to go out there and not have to deal with those kinds of things. I guess you can kind of say this is a rebound game from all that.”
The solid outing came six days after Harrison (6-6) remained on the mound after a rain delay of 2 hours, 16 minutes in Atlanta and earned a no-decision in his first career start against the team that drafted him, when the Rangers won in 10 innings.
Harrison is 3-2 with a 1.43 ERA over his last six starts and his season ERA of 3.00 is among the best in the majors for a left-hander.
“He’s focused. Whatever trouble he created tonight, he was able to pitch around,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Continue to do that, it builds your confidence.”
Adrian Beltre snapped a 13-game homerless drought with a two-run shot off Mike Pelfrey (4-6) that put the Rangers up 3-0 in the first. Beltre’s 13th homer was his first since June 8.
Michael Young and Josh Hamilton also connected for the AL West-leading Rangers. It was the 100th career homer for Hamilton.
Harrison gave up one run and seven hits, struck out four and walked one.
“It took him probably a couple of weeks to pass that stone, I don’t want even want to get into that, it’s pretty gnarly,” Young said. “But he did a great job. For him to come out there, compete and give us seven innings is huge.”
Pelfrey, coming off a complete-game victory at home last Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, gave up four runs over six innings in another tough outing away from Citi Field. The right-hander is 1-6 with a 6.65 ERA in nine road starts this season.
“You give up six runs on two-run homers, it’s tough to for us to catch up in those circumstances,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “In this park, you’ve really got to bear down and make your pitches.”
Beltre added a one-out double in the seventh off Manny Acosta before Young hit his fifth homer.
Hamilton connected for a two-run drive off Acosta in the eighth. All seven of the reigning AL MVP’s homers this season have come in 29 games since coming of a six-week stint on the disabled list for a broken bone in his upper right arm.
New York opened a stretch of playing 13 of 16 games on the road before the All-Star break.
The Rangers won two of three at home earlier this week against the Astros to begin a span of 19 games before the break when their only road games are during a three-game series at Houston next week.
Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff double in the first, moved up on a sacrifice by Elvis Andrus and scored on Hamilton’s single. Beltre followed with his drive to left.
“I didn’t get off to the start I wanted. My fastball command wasn’t very good,” Pelfrey said. “Beltre was right down the middle.”
Beltre, hitless in 10 at-bats coming into the game, finished with three extra-base hits after another double in the eighth.
Andrus had an RBI single in the fourth before leaving the game with a sprained left wrist. The shortstop got hurt when his left hand buckled awkwardly on the ground when he sliding headfirst for his 22nd stolen base of the season. He was replaced in the field by Andres Blanco to start the fifth.
An MRI is scheduled for Saturday, though Washington doesn’t think the injury is serious.
“He’s OK,” Washington said. “He dove there, his left hand stayed behind him and just turned it over. He’ll be fine.”
NOTES: The Mets got their run in the fifth when Ronny Paulino hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Ruben Tejeda. … Jason Bay had three singles for the Mets, his fifth multihit performance in the last nine games. … Both weekend games in the series will be day games. The forecasted high for both days is 99 degrees. It is the first time since 2005 with consecutive day games at Rangers Ballpark during the summer heat. … Pelfrey has allowed 14 homers this season, already two more than last year. … Hamilton has hit in 18 consecutive interleague games at home. … The only other time the Mets played at Rangers Ballpark was 2003. New York won two of three in that series, and also at home in 2008, outscoring Texas 44-22 in those six games.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)