Harrison struggles as Rangers fall to Rays 8-4

Associated Press Published: April 28, 2012
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Matt Harrison's struggles were too much for the Texas Rangers to overcome.

Evan Longoria hit a three-homer to key a four-run first inning as the Tampa Bay Rays roughed up Harrison from the start to extend their win streak to six games with an 8-4 victory over the Rangers on Friday night.

Harrison (3-1) allowed seven runs and a career-high 14 hits in five innings. The left-hander had allowed a combined four runs in winning his first three starts of the season.

"I thought it was balls (Harrison) left up," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "They were in attack mode and they didn't miss them."

This was the first meeting of the season between the two playoff rivals. The Rangers beat the Rays the past two seasons in the AL division series on their way to consecutive World Series appearances.

Harrison was the winning pitcher in the series-clinching Game 4 of the ALDS last season.

It was a far different story Friday night.

The first six batters of the game reached base against Harrison and Tampa Bay finished with a season-high 16 hits in support of James Shields (4-0).

"That's the way it goes," Harrison said. "Tonight, they just had my number."

Josh Hamilton hit his league-leading ninth home run and Elvis Andrus added three hits for the Rangers.

Andrus lined out to center with the bases loaded to end the eighth against reliever Wade Davis. The Texas shortstop just missed hitting a grand slam on the previous pitch when his shot down the line in right landed just a few feet foul.

"It was a little bad luck right there," Andrus said. "I thought it was fair the whole way."

Shields became the first starter in the AL to win four games this season. The Tampa Bay ace, who struck out eight, allowed four runs and 11 hits in six innings.

Longoria had four RBIs, Luke Scott homered, and B.J. Upton and Jeff Keppinger each had three hits for the Rays.

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