(Reuters) - Matt Harrison pitched the Texas Rangers to their sixth win in eight games, holding the Minnesota Twins to a single run over eight innings in a 4-1 victory on Friday.
The two-time defending American League champions pushed across three runs in the fourth to give Harrison all the support he needed, as the left-hander struck out four and walked two while yielding seven hits.
He credited the Rangers defense played a big role in his second win of the season.
“Oh man, it was outstanding,” Harrison told reporters. “Whatever ball was put in play, they made the plays behind me.”
“After the second inning, I was just trying to make pitches, stay down in the zone and use all my pitches. They made all the plays behind me.”
The pitcher, who has an impressive 0.64 earned run average, also impressed his team mates.
”He was throwing strikes, 1-2-3 ... that’s always good for your defense,“ third baseman Adrian Beltre said. ”You have to be on your toes.
“He got a lot of ground balls and we stayed ready. When he needed the double play, he got it. He pitched great tonight.”
Consecutive singles by Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Beltre and Michael Young plus David Murphy’s sacrifice fly highlighted the Rangers’ three run fourth.
Ian Kinsler added a solo homer in the seventh.
Danny Valencia’s sacrifice fly in the second accounted for Minnesota’s sole run.
The Twins’ Anthony Swarzak started well and retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced on the cool, windy night before the Rangers collected four of their nine hits in the fourth to take control.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Alastair Himmer