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Harrison's revamped mechanics lead to dominant outing vs. Astros

Harrison's revamped mechanics lead to dominant outing vs. Astros originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Over the past week or so, Kyle Harrison spent time tinkering with his mechanics in hopes of regaining his early-season form.

Whatever the Giants’ young left-hander did, it seemed to work out nicely against the Houston Astros on Monday night at Oracle Park.

Trying to bounce back from losing consecutive starts for the first time in his young career, Harrison relied on those changes to get him and San Francisco back on track.

While Harrison didn’t figure into the decision – a 4-3 walk-off win in 10 innings for the Giants – he was efficient and effective for most of the night.

For the first time in over a month – a period spanning six starts – Harrison pitched into the seventh inning while spearheading an overall solid night by San Francisco's pitching staff. He didn’t allow a runner past second base until the seventh when Houston got to him for a run on a pair of extra-base hits.

“Just kind of getting away from my mechanics,” Harrison said when asked what he learned during his bullpens leading up to Monday’s game. “You get in an everyday process and you kind of lose some things. Going back to some things that I did well in the past and really looking at film.

“Really just hammering down that front side, that glove movement. Something I really worked hard on my last bullpens. Translated today. Something to build on.”

Indeed.

Harrison worked around an infield error to open the game, retired seven straight during one stretch, then pitched out of another jam in the fifth after Houston got its leadoff hitter to second base.

“This was just his best stuff we’ve seen in a while,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said. “Fastball had better ride to it, his breaking stuff he had really good control of, didn’t walk anybody. Just really good stuff he had today, and on top of it, it was efficient.”

Prior to his outing against the Astros, Harrison had been in a rut. In five starts dating back to May 7 – the last time he pitched past the sixth inning – Harrison had been tagged for 17 runs in previous 26 innings (5.88 ERA).

That raised some eyebrows, as the franchise’s top pitching prospect wasn’t coming close to expectations.

Thanks to his work in between starts, Harrison appears to have figured out the problems that had been plaguing him.

“I was able to kind of put it where I wanted,” Harrison said. “Those are the ones you look back on and want to build on. Try to repeat that as many times as possible.

“Every inning’s a battle, that’s kind of what I’ve learned here. Can’t come out flat. Gotta come out competing and throwing strikes and pound the zone. Did that today.”

Harrison’s night came to an end with one out in the seventh. The lefty threw only 77 pitches – the third-fewest he’s tallied this season – but stood behind manager Bob Melvin’s decision to take him out after Jake Meyers’ one-out double.

“I think Bob has a good feel for the game,” Harrison said. “A couple hits in a row there. We’ve had a great ‘pen so I trust them behind me. He trusts them as well. Got the W. That’s all that matters.”

Melvin summed up Harrison’s night with one simple sentence.

“This has been as efficient as he’s been all year,” Melvin said.

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