The Matt and Adrian Show

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, August 25th, 2012

BY:  Dic Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – Matt Harrison threw a sensational game at Minnesota Friday night to win his career high 15th game of the year by a 8-0 score.  His no hit bid lasted until two outs in the seventh inning, when Twins’ designated hitter Trevor Plouff broke it up with a single, just after David Murphy had made a diving SportsCenter quality catch to keep the no hitter alive.  Harrison ended the night with eight innings pitched and two hits allowed, lowering his ERA to 3.04.

On the offensive side, the buzz word is Adrian Beltre.  He hit his first triple as a Ranger in the first inning to drive home Josh Hamilton to put the Rangers on the scoreboard first.  He finished the second inning with a double that drove home the fifth run of the inning and the sixth of the game.  Next, he led off the fifth with a home run to extend the Rangers’ lead to 7-0.  Two innings later, he led off with a single to complete the cycle.

It was the sixth cycle in Ranger history and second in Beltre history.  Ironically, his other cycle came in Arlington as a Ranger opponent when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners.  With even more irony, the Rangers’ starting pitcher that night was Matt Harrison.  The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Beltre is the first player in Major League history to hit for the cycle in the same park for both a visiting and home team.  The other cyclists in Ranger history are Oddibe McDowell, Mark Teixeira, Gary Matthews, Jr., Ian Kinsler and Benji Molina.  McDowell’s was the only one in the 20th century.

Manager Ron Washington commented afterward about the cycle, “He did it the easy way.  He just had to get the single the last time up.”  Not sure there is an easy way to hit for the cycle.

Friday was Beltre’s third straight game to hit a home run, following Wednesday’s three home run performance.  With another on Thursday night, he has hit five in the span of three games to bring his season total to 24.  Washington was asked which he considered to be the bigger accomplishment – three home runs in a game or a cycle.  Washington’s vote was for the cycle.

David Murphy continued his offensive surge with two more hits Friday night.  It was his sixth multi-hit game out of the last nine.  He was third in the league in batting average for the month of August before Friday’s game, and those two hits raised this month’s average six points to .378.  He should have enough plate appearances by the end of this series to qualify for the batting title, and will be among the top 10 hitters in the American League when he does.   He also made the play of the game, a diving catch in the seventh inning that kept the no hitter alive.

Washington continues to be pleased with Murphy’s play.  “David’s been locked in.  This time is David’s time of the year.  He’s using the big part of the field.  He’s not trying to pull everything.  Defense is something he’s worked hard on.”

The story of this game though was Harrison, who became the fourth American League pitcher to win 15 games this year.  (David Price 16, Jered Weaver 16 and Chris Sale 15 are the others.)  It was his second straight start that Harrison pitched eight innings and allowed two hits.  He continues to grab the mantle as the leader of the rotation.

Washington noted, “The guy was in control from the first pitch.  He got a lot of quick outs.  He threw fewer changeups tonight.  He certainly had a good fastball, and he moved it around the zone.  He was locked in.”

Washington acknowledged that he was aware of the no hitter possibility.  “I knew he had a no hitter going.  I just stayed out of his way.”

The Rangers are 74-51 after the win, the first time this year they have been as many as 23 games over .500, and 2012 is only the fourth season in which the Rangers have been as many as 23 games over .500 at any point in the season.  The win kept them six games in front of the Athletics, who beat Tampa Bay 5-4 and 8.5 games in front of the Angels, who beat Detroit Friday night 2-1.  The so called “magic number”, the number of Ranger wins and opponent losses that eliminates the opponent from winning the West Division is 32 for Oakland and 29 for Los Angeles.  The Twins’ series continues Saturday afternoon (3:05 PM) in a game televised by FOX (Channel 4 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area).  Ryan Dempster (7-5, 2.99) is scheduled to start for the Rangers, while the Twins counter with Brian Duensing (3-8, 4.46).

AND ALSO:

  • Texas announced before Friday’s game that Michael Young had been placed on the MLB Paternity Leave List, and that infielder Luis Hernandez had been recalled from AAA Round Rock to take his place on the roster.  Michael’s wife Cristina gave birth to their third son, Antonio Barbosa Young.  There is no speculation as to when Young will return to the active roster, but he can stay on the paternity list for up to 72 hours.  Josh Hamilton was the Rangers’ DH Friday, and Craig Gentry started in center field.

 

  • Hernandez made his Ranger debut when he subbed in for Adrian Beltre in the ninth inning with an 8-0 lead.  He became the 17th Ranger position player to see action this season.
  • Friday’s attendance was 45,823, which was not an official sellout.  That brings the season total over the 2.7 million mark.
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