Harrison finds trouble early in loss

Harrison has trouble early, Texas falls

PHOENIX -- Matt Harrison did his best to help the Rangers' slumping offense against the D-backs on Tuesday night.

He drew a leadoff walk in the third inning against pitcher Matt Scherzer, marking the first time a Rangers pitcher has reached base this season in Interleague Play, and ended up scoring on a two-out double by Marlon Byrd for the Rangers' first run of the night.

The problem was that Harrison had already given up four runs in the first two innings to Arizona as it went on to an 8-2 victory over Texas at Chase Field. The first-place Rangers have now lost five straight games and the Angels have moved into a tie with them for the top spot in the American League West.

The Rangers had been in sole possession of first place for 48 straight days, but have now lost 13 of their past 20 games. They are 7-12 in June.

"I wouldn't call it alarmed," outfielder David Murphy said. "I don't know what the right word is but we need to find a sense of urgency to get things straightened out. We've done a good job staying positive but I think it's time to start tightening it up and get things done."

The signature moment of the night came in the sixth after a two-out triple by Felipe Lopez off Rangers reliever Jason Jennings. With Stephen Drew up, after a pitch that was called low for a ball, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia overthrew Jennings tossing the ball back to the mound and nobody backed up on the play. Lopez scored easily.

Saltalamacchia said he thought home plate umpire Mike Everitt had called time to check for a scuffed ball.

"He asked for the ball, but didn't call time," Saltalamacchia said. "But that's a terrible throw. I still have to get the ball back to the pitcher."

Nobody was more frustrated than Harrison, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings on the night while allowing seven runs. He faced 20 batters and 11 reached base on seven hits and four walks.

"I'm very frustrated," Harrison said. "A terrible performance. I walked too many guys, I fell behind too many guys and I was missing up in the zone."

At one point Harrison started working out of a stretch with no runners on base because he thought it was better than his erratic windup.

"He wasn't very sharp tonight," manager Ron Washington said. "He just didn't have it."

Harrison is now 0-3 with a 10.61 ERA in his past four starts: two before and two after he spent three weeks on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Harrison said the shoulder only bothers him "a little bit" but he's definitely not the same pitcher who won four straight with a 1.80 ERA in late April and the first part of May.

"This was his second time out since coming off the disabled list," Washington said. "It looks like he's still trying to find it. We certainly expect better the next time he takes the rubber. We're not looking for alternatives. That's Matt's spot. Before he went on the DL, he had it figured out. We'll wait and see if he can figure it out again."

The pivotal moment was the fourth inning. The Rangers had just cut the D-backs' lead to 4-2 with an RBI single by Ian Kinsler in the top of the inning and were making Scherzer work hard. Arizona had the bottom three hitters coming up in its half of the inning. Harrison needed a shutdown inning.

He didn't get it. He got one out then walked Ryan Roberts, the D-backs' No. 8 hitter, on four pitches. Scherzer then bunted Roberts to second and he scored on a single by Felipe Lopez.

"Terrible," Harrison said. "I've got to get the No. 8 hitter. That should have been a 1-2-3 inning. I had too many walks tonight."

Lopez went to second on Murphy's late throw to the plate and scored on Drew's single. Justin Upton doubled home another run and the D-backs led 7-2.

"We got behind early, and the way we're swinging the bats, we knew it would be a rough road to come back," Washington said. "We just had to play comeback all night."

The Rangers had six hits in the first four innings but just two the rest of the way. They were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We needed a good start tonight and I didn't give it to them," Harrison said. "Very disappointing."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.