Neither club would be surprised to see its starter deliver a similarly masterful outing in the teams’ next meeting.
Matt Harrison(notes) looks to lead the Rangers to their eighth win in nine games Wednesday night against the Tigers, who will turn to Justin Verlander(notes) in hopes of recording their season-high fifth straight victory and 10th in a row at home against Texas.
Dontrelle Willis(notes) allowed one hit in 6 1-3 innings Tuesday, and four relievers combined for 2 2-3 perfect innings to complete the 4-0 win, the fourth in a row for the AL Central-leading Tigers (21-16). It was the first win in a Detroit uniform—and first in almost 20 months—for the 2003 NL Rookie of the year, who recently was on the disabled list due to an anxiety disorder.
That also snapped a seven-game winning streak for Texas, its longest since winning nine straight from May 20-31, 2005. The Rangers (23-15), sitting atop the AL West, have lost nine straight in Detroit since Sept. 11, 2007.
They seem to have a good chance to do so with Harrison (4-2, 4.23 ERA) taking the mound in the middle game of the series.
The second-year left-hander has posted a 1.80 ERA while winning four straight starts, including back-to-back complete games. Harrison’s 22-inning scoreless streak ended when he allowed two runs in the fourth inning of a 3-2 victory over Seattle on Thursday, but he settled down and finished the five-hitter by retiring 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.
“I can’t say I didn’t get mad when I gave up those runs,” Harrison said after becoming the Rangers’ first pitcher to win consecutive complete games since Kenny Rogers(notes) won three straight from May 18-29, 1994. “I just wanted to keep battling and hold them right there. Just start another (streak).”
Harrison has 13 wins in the majors, the most for a left-hander in his first 22 career starts since Vean Gregg won 16 of his first 22 for Cleveland in 1911.
However, the Tigers have Verlander (3-2, 4.29), who’s been just as effective as Harrison lately. After going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA over his first four starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA over his last four.
Verlander followed a two-hit shutout of Cleveland by holding Minnesota to two runs and five hits while striking out a career-high 13 in 6 1-3 innings Thursday, but the Tigers bullpen gave away the lead in the 6-5 defeat.
Verlander is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers. He’s held them to one earned run or fewer in five of those contests, including a 4-3 Detroit win on April 11 in which he allowed one earned run and two hits while striking out eight over five innings.
Harrison started for Texas and gave up four runs and nine hits while walking five in 5 2-3 innings in his first career game against Detroit.