McCarthy, who was only scheduled to throw about 45 pitches, only made it to 35. He retired two batters and gave up three runs in the shortest outing by a Texas starter this season. McCarthy was activated before the first game of the doubleheader. He had been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, as well as elbow soreness.
"I was still jumpy and rushed, especially out of the stretch," McCarthy said. "Out of the windup, I felt OK."
Problem is, McCarthy didn't spend much time pitching from a windup because runners were constantly on base.
He walked leadoff man Curtis Granderson, who stole both second and third base, and scored on a Gary Sheffield single. Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez followed with run-scoring hits to end McCarthy's night.
"I'm encouraged [that he was fine]," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I took him out because his pitch count got up there, it wasn't because something was wrong with him."
Washington had planned to start McCarthy again on Saturday after just three days of rest because of the short outing, but said he would talk with pitching coach Mark Connor more about the situation tonight.
"You can ask that question again tomorrow," Washington repeated three times about McCarthy's status. "I don't want to say something off the top of my head without talking to my pitching coach."
Tigers starter Jair Jurrjens, who was also activated from the DL prior to Tuesday's doubleheader, allowed three singles over five innings but was pulled after 72 pitches. Jurrjens was coming back from a sore shoulder of his own.
The Rangers scored their only run against Jurrjens on a sacrifice fly from Marlon Byrd in the first inning. The Tigers responded with the three runs off McCarthy for a 3-1 lead.
"I think they tore up about 18,000 bats," Washington said of Tigers pitchers, who broke several bats throughout the game.
The Rangers went hitless for 12 straight batters off Jurrjens, and reliever Jason Grilli, after a two-out single by Ian Kinsler in the third. Sammy Sosa and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back singles off Grilli with two outs in the seventh, but reliever Fernando Rodney was brought in and struck out Gerald Laird to end the inning.
The Rangers also had a runner in scoring position one inning later after consecutive singles by Frank Catalanotto and Ian Kinsler off Rodney. But Michael Young grounded into a double play to end the only other real scoring threat of the night for the Rangers.
Still, the Rangers were encouraged that they remained close after the brief outing from McCarthy. Jamey Wright did most of the work in relief -- allowing one run on four hits over six innings.
"The way we've been playing, I expected us to come back from it," Wright said of the Rangers, who are 13-3 in their last 16 games. "I'm sure the rest of us did too, whereas the middle of May [and] June we would have cashed out and went in. But we've been playing good ball and we're going to continue to do and finish out the season strong."