ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Matt Harrison worked into the eighth inning to cap his unbeaten July for AL West-leading Texas and won a pitcher’s duel against Minnesota’s Scott Baker in the Rangers’ 4-1 victory Thursday night.
Harrison (9-7) allowed one run over 7 1-3 innings with two strikeouts and a walk. The left-hander won all three of his decisions in his five starts this month.
After Yoshinori Tateyama and Arthur Rhodes retired the only batters they faced, Neftali Feliz rebounded from his two earlier flops in the series with a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 26 chances.
Michael Young and Chris Davis had RBI singles early that put Texas ahead to stay. The Rangers earned a split in the four-game series and maintained their two-game division lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who won earlier Thursday at Cleveland.
The Rangers had lost two straight against Minnesota after opening the series with a 20-6 win Monday night when they had the most runs and hits (27) in the majors this season.
Baker (8-6) struck out four with no walks while allowing two runs over seven innings in his second start since returning from the disabled list because of a right flexor strain. The right-hander was 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA his previous seven starts, including five scoreless innings in his return Saturday against Detroit.
Feliz gave up two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday night in the Rangers’ 9-8 loss. In the blowout opener, Feliz gave up a run in the ninth when the hard-throwing right-hander was in to get some work after not pitching for a week.
Manager Ron Washington said in the aftermath of the blown save that he wanted to see more fire from Feliz — and he got it. Feliz struck out Jim Thome and got Danny Valencia on a popup before Delmon Young grounded out to end the game.
Josh Hamilton had three hits for Texas, including a two-out triple in the ninth. Young was intentionally walked before Nelson Cruz reached on a throwing error by third baseman Valencia that allowed Hamilton to score. Mitch Moreland then had an RBI single.
Harrison was pulled with one out in the eighth when he issued his first walk, to Joe Mauer. He finished July with a 2.04 ERA.
Tateyama struck out Michael Cuddyer, who already had two hits in the game and was hitting .500 (14 for 28) against the Rangers this season. Rhodes then struck out Jason Kubel, who had homered off the left-hander in the series.
Elvis Andrus and Hamilton had consecutive singles to start the Texas fourth. Young drove Andrus home with a single.
Yorvit Torrealba had a leadoff double in the Texas fifth and scored when Davis blooped a high popup that dropped in short left-field near the line for a single. That made it 2-0.
Notes: Minnesota won the season series 5-3, and is 18-10 against Texas since the start of the 2009 season. … Twins CF Denard Spann, out since June 9 with a concussion, continues rehab at Triple-A. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Spann will need several full games before he is ready to be activated. … On the 17th anniversary of Kenny Rogers’ perfect game at Rangers Ballpark, former Texas CF Rusty Greer had an autograph session with fans. Greer made a diving catch to start the ninth inning, then caught the final out in the only perfect game in franchise history. … The Twins took batting practice indoors rather than endure another 100-degree session outside. … Umpires Mike Winters, Mike Everitt, Chris Guccione and Mike Muchlinksi visited Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. It was the fourth of 12 scheduled visits nationwide as part of the UMPS CARE Charities BLUE for Kids program
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