SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Harrison knew he wasn’t going to be as sharp as he was last season, when he won 18 games and made the AL All-Star team. Still, he didn’t think his spring training debut would be this bad.
The 27-year-old left-hander gave up four runs on six hits in the first inning as the Texas Rangers lost 7-5 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
“It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted my first outing to go,” Harrison said. “It’s the first outing and your command is not going to be exactly where you want it to be. It definitely was way better in the bullpen than it was in the game. I don’t know if it was a matter of trying to force it in there and not letting it be free and easy.
“I just kept missing either in, off too far or down in the dirt,” he said.
The Royals batted around in the first, highlighted by Alcides Escobar’s RBI triple.
“I didn’t want to throw 40 pitches in one inning, but that’s the way went today,” Harrison said. “Hopefully, I can get better at that.”
There was a northwest wind of 22mph, with gusts of 31, blowing out to right field.
“It definitely wasn’t ideal conditions to pitch in, but I’ve pitched in worse,” Harrison said. “You can’t let that effect the way you go out and do your business. With the wind blowing 100 miles per hour, if the ball gets in the air no telling where it’s going to go. I wanted to keep it on the ground like I always do, but it just seemed like they wouldn’t hit it at anybody today. It was up the middle or in the hole.”
Royals starter Luis Mendoza, the Caribbean Series MVP after throwing 13 1-3 scoreless innings for Mexico, allowed one run and four hits in four innings.
“The wind was so bad, I just tried to let the sinker move by itself,” Mendoza said. “I just tried to throw it in the middle and get groundballs. For lefties, especially, I tried to work outside of the plate.”
Leury Garcia, who drove in three runs, took advantage of the wind with a two-run homer to right in the sixth as the Rangers tied the score at 5.
Xavier Nady and Brett Hayes stroked RBIs singles in the eighth and ninth innings as the Royals regained the lead. Salvador Perez went 3 for 3 with a double and scored two runs for the Royals.
John Lamb, the Royals top pitching prospect before reconstructive elbow surgery in 2011, allowed one run on four hits in one inning.
“Just getting back out there in front of that baseball atmosphere again was pretty exciting,” Lamb said. “It was just a fun day for me. My command can always get better. I’m going to be hard on myself with that. Other than that, I don’t like watching runs score when I’m pitching.”
NOTES: Rangers RHP Kyle McClellan, who had surgery to repair a frayed labrum last July, had a setback in his rehab when his bullpen sessions was shut down before he completed warmups. Pitching for the first time in nine days because of shoulder soreness, McClellan was still feeling soreness in the shoulder. . RHP Joakim Soria, who did not pitch last year after having Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to throw a 45-pitch bullpen Monday for the Rangers. He has had three 30-pitch sessions. . Royals LHP Francisley Bueno sustained a bruised left wrist when struck by a hopper Saturday, but was OK Sunday. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Milwaukee.