Harrison helps keep Rangers' bullpen fresh

Harrison helps keep Rangers' bullpen fresh

Harrison helps keep Rangers' bullpen fresh
SEATTLE -- The Rangers went into Wednesday's game with a fully rested bullpen to back up pitcher Scott Feldman. Manager Ron Washington credited Matt Harrison with that.

Harrison threw 35 pitches in the first inning on Tuesday night and was in danger of a short outing. That would have been trouble after Yu Darvish pitched four innings on Monday. But Harrison responded with six scoreless innings after the first and the Rangers didn't have to tax their bullpen again.

"It was huge," Washington said. "Every pitcher we have is available after Feldman."

Washington even sent Harrison out for the eighth inning. Harrison was hoping to reward the manager's confidence by pitching one more scoreless inning but gave up leadoff singles to Alex Liddi and Ichiro Suzuki. That forced Washington to bring in Mike Adams, but Harrison had done enough.

"Ultimately every starter wants to go deep in the game," Harrison said. "I knew I had to get deep in that game. The first inning was tough, but after that I was able to settle in and pound the strike zone. That's always big when you can save the bullpen for another day."

Harrison, who is averaging just more than six innings per start, still admitted to being disappointed that he didn't get through the eighth after Washington sent him back out there.

"I hate that I didn't get it done," Harrison said. "He definitely gave me the opportunity to get through another inning. Fortunately, Adams came in and shut it down. I definitely want to go seven or eight innings. They call six innings a quality start, but I don't want to be average. I want to be one of the best pitchers in the league and I want to take the ball into the eighth and ninth inning a lot."

Harrison now has a 1.26 ERA in four starts at Safeco Field. That's the second lowest for any pitcher with a minimum of four starts since the park opened in 1999.