ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Harrison has allowed just four home runs over his last 13 starts, and three of them have been by the Los Angeles Angels.
Bobby Wilson hit his first of the season leading off the seventh inning against Harrison on Sunday night, sending the Texas Rangers' left-hander to the showers in a 7-4 loss.
"The biggest mistake was that fastball to Wilson in the seventh," Harrison said. "I dropped my guard on him and tried to throw a strike in there on 2-0."
Harrison (12-5) gave up four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings after going the distance in his previous two outings, including a five-hit shutout last Sunday at Seattle. He was attempting to tie fellow All-Stars R.A. Dickey and David Price for the major league lead in victories and become the first Rangers pitcher with three consecutive complete games since Kenny Rogers in May 1994.
"There were a lot of pressure at-bats, with guys on base pretty much every inning," Harrison said. "I had to battle the whole game. They were swinging the bats tonight, and I was just trying to minimize the damage as much as possible and keep the game close."
Rookie sensation Mike Trout led off the Angels' first with a triple into the right-field corner and came home on Albert Pujols' ground-rule double into the left field corner. The Angels increased their lead to 3-0 in the second when Alberto Callaspo scored on a passed ball and Maicer Izturis came home on Wilson's single.
"Harrison put up four zeros up after that and kept us in the ballgame, but the bullpen just couldn't shut it down," manager Ron Washington said.
The Angels tacked on three runs in the seventh — including Pujols' 18th homer, a two-run shot off Alexi Ogando that followed a single by Torii Hunter.
"I was just looking for a zone," Pujols said. "I faced him yesterday and he threw me some tough pitches. So I just tried to be aggressive, like I always am, and look for a pitch to hit that was up. I was able to put my best swing of the night on it, and it gave us a little cushion."
Michael Young's RBI single in the eighth off Scott Downs got the Rangers a run closer, but Hunter got it back with an RBI single in the eighth.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, in a non-save situation, relieved Downs with one on and no outs in the ninth after David Murphy reached on Downs' throwing error. Frieri walked two of his first three batters, loading the bases, and Elvis Andrus drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. But Frieri came back to strike out Josh Hamilton for the final out.
Hamilton came up empty in four opportunities with runners in scoring position during the series, and is 0 for 15 this month in those situations.
"He just wasn't very good tonight, but I'll take him in that situation every single night, whether he's struggling or swinging well — because he can make a difference with one swing of the bat," Washington said. "We were in a good position with the right guy up there, and he just didn't get it done. But you've got to give Frieri credit. He did what he had to do to get out of it."