No lucky 13 for Saunders vs. rookie
All-Star goes the distance for the loss; short-lived rallies falter
ARLINGTON -- Tuesday night, two left-handed 20-somethings took the mound for the Angels and Rangers.One, 27-year-old Joe Saunders, was anticipating a baby and an All-Star berth, and toed the rubber leading the American League in victories. The other, 22-year-old Matt Harrison, did so for the first time in his Major League career. Through four innings, one had faced the minimum while the other had trailed since the first. However, in this case, the one and the other weren't who you might have expected. It was actually Harrison who was setting down hitters right and left, while Saunders allowed the Rangers to scratch a run off him in the first inning. "Both pitchers went pitch for pitch against one another," manager Mike Scioscia said. "[Harrison] did well tonight. He changed speeds and Joe pitched great tonight. There's a learning curve that goes on from one at-bat to the next, but [Harrison] made adjustments, too. You have to give him credit. He pitched a good game." Harrison stifled the Angels for seven innings and the offense -- one night after hitting four home runs and scoring nine runs -- could not give Saunders the support he needed, as the Angels fell, 3-2, after a 56-minute rain delay at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "I thought as the game went on, [Chone] Figgins hit four balls on the screws and [Erick] Aybar got some good looks," Scioscia said. "But [Harrison] pitched to contact and we couldn't bunch together any hits to get to him." In Harrison's seven innings, the Angels sent the minimum to the plate five times and only in the fifth did they mount a legitimate rally. "You can't call the kid Cy Young yet, but he did a nice job tonight," Torii Hunter said. In the fifth, Hunter drew a one-out walk and was followed by a Howie Kendrick double to right-center field. Then Garret Anderson drove them both in, slapping an outside pitch that teammate Vladimir Guerrero would have been more likely to hack at up the middle for a single.
|"You can't call the kid Cy Young yet, but he did a nice job tonight."|
|-- Torii Hunter, on Rangers rookie Matt Harrison|
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.