Harrison baffles ChiSox as Rangers roll
David Murphy has seen a difference in Matt Harrison from April to May.
"The thing that I notice with him is confidence," the Texas Rangers outfielder said.
And, Harrison is turning that improved mound presence into wins. The left-hander threw a four-hitter in his second career shutout, leading the Rangers to a 6-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Ian Kinsler and Omar Vizquel each drove in two runs, and Murphy scored three runs for the Rangers, who have won six of seven.
Harrison (3-2) hasn't allowed a run in 19 straight innings after going 1-2 in four start in April with a 7.89 ERA. He didn't allow a runner past second base and only allowed one walk while striking out five. Harrison
"His body language out on the mound has been incredible the last few starts," Murphy said. "He kind of looked a little unsure of himself early in the season and I think he's figured things out. That kind of shows."
Jose Contreras (0-5), who helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series allowed five runs, three earned on six hits. He also hit one batter, threw two wild pitches and walked two. After the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he talked to Contreras and told him they will replace him in the rotation.
After allowing a single to Jermaine Dye in the second inning, Harrison retired the next 11 batters. The left-hander picked up his second victory against the White Sox this week after throwing five scoreless innings in Sunday's win at Texas.
"It feels great," Harrison said. "I just came out early and tried to follow the last start, not change anything unless they made me make an adjustment and they didn't. So I just kept pounding the fastball. I was in and out and using my changeup like I was the last time. I was able to get ahead of them early in the counts and early in the game and just followed that up with pounding the zone late in the game and they were making great plays behind me."
After Contreras struck out Nelson Cruz in the second inning, Murphy reached on Josh Fields' throwing error. Contreras then gave up back-to-back singles to Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden to load the bases. Murphy scored on Kinsler's fielder's choice and Davis scored on Contreras' wild pitch. Despite the damage, Contreras wasn't charged with an earned run because of the throwing error.
Contreras struggled again in the fourth inning when he allowed a leadoff double by Murphy, who advanced to third on a wild pitch, and one out later, he hit Teagarden. Kinsler followed with a sacrifice bunt and Vizquel chased Contreras with an RBI double.
Contreras, the winner of 17 straight decisions during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, was booed by the home crowd throughout and then heard cheers when manager Ozzie Guillen took him out. Contreras allowed five runs - three earned - and six hits. He also hit one batter, threw two wild pitches and walked two.
Last season, Contreras season ended when he ruptured his left Achilles tendon on Aug. 9, but said the injury is not a reason for his struggles.
"I feel healthy. Issues are: left the ball up and location," Contreras said through a translator. "It would be different if my leg wasn't feeling good. If it wasn't feeling healthy. It's difficult. I am going to keep working hard. It's the only thing I can do."
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski doesn't have an idea on how to get Contreras back to form.
"We've tried different things," he said. "We've tried a million things. We've tried to attack guys this way, attack guys that way and nothing seems to work right now. You feel so bad because Jose is such a great guy and you really want him to succeed and do very well and you just don't know what to do anymore."
Texas third baseman Michael Young left in the bottom of the fifth inning with lower back stiffness and went 0-for-3, snapping an 11-game hitting streak. He said he is day-to-day.
Teagarden added an RBI double in the sixth.
In the first inning, Kinsler walked, stole second and scored on Vizquel's single.
Rangers OF Josh Hamilton could return to the team as early as Tuesday after spending time on the disabled list with bruised left ribs. Hamilton plans to take batting practice Saturday. He will then play two games during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday and Monday. Hamilton is hitting .242 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 18 games for Texas and expects to be back in the lineup at Seattle on Tuesday. ... Guillen sat struggling SS Alexei Ramirez for the second straight game.