PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 22: Philadelphia Phillies mascot Phillie Phanatic tries to distract pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers at Citizens Bank Park on May 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Rangers won 2-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Matt Harrison Bests Roy Oswalt, Rangers Win 2-0

Matt Harrison pitched into the ninth inning, giving up just five hits without surrendering a run, as the Rangers avoided being swept in Philadelphia on Sunday.

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Rangers Hope To Salvage Win Behind Matt Harrison

Sunday, May 22nd
Texas Rangers (23-23) at Philadelphia Phillies (28-17), 12:35 p.m. CDT

Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas – Matt Harrison (3-4, 4.27), Philadelphia – Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.09)

(Sports Network) – The Phillies will attempt to keep the Texas Rangers winless in Philadelphia as they try to sweep their three-game series this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies and Rangers met for the first time in the City of Brotherly Love back in 2005, with the Phils outscoring the Rangers 20-13 in winning all three games. There hasn’t been as much offense this time around in Philadelphia, where the Phils took Friday’s opener 3-2 before Cliff Lee and Ryan Madson combined for last night’s 2-0 shutout victory.

Lee, facing Texas for the first time since helping lead the franchise to the World Series last year, scattered five hits and two walks over eight innings, striking out 10. Ryan Madson then shut the door in the final inning for his ninth save.

“Those guys know I throw a lot of fastballs, so I tried to throw a little less than I normally would,” Lee said. “I was throwing strikes and mixing speeds.”

The Phillies, winners of two straight and three of four since a four-game slide, did show some signs of getting their struggling offense in check. Ryan Howard ended an 0-for-23 slump with his 10th homer of the season in the second inning, while Philly as a club halted a string of seven straight games with six hits or fewer by finishing with eight.

Philadelphia leads Florida by 1 1/2 games for first place in the National League East, while Texas is a half-game up on the Angels for the top spot in the American League West. The Rangers’ current three-game slide matches its longest of the season.

Michael Young had three of Texas’ six hits and Colby Lewis took the loss after giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings.

“We just couldn’t get anything going. When we did, [Lee] found a way to make pitches and get out of it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “That’s exactly what the good ones do and he’s a good one.”

Rangers starter Matt Harrison takes aim at his first victory in six starts when he toes the rubber this afternoon.

The left-hander had dropped four straight starts before getting a no-decision versus the White Sox on Tuesday. Harrison allowed three runs on three hits and four walks over seven innings, his longest start since his last victory on April 15.

“It’s definitely frustrating. I felt good the whole game,” said Harrison on Texas’ official website. “The fact of the matter is I walked too many people tonight.”

The 25-year-old is 3-4 with a 4.27 earned run average in eight starts this year and will face the Phillies for the first time in his career. Harrison is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in six all-time appearances during interleague play, including two starts.

Making the start for the Phillies today will be right-hander Roy Oswalt, his second since returning from a stint on the disabled list due to lower back inflammation.

In his first start since April 26, Oswalt faced the Cardinals on Tuesday and did not factor into the decision of a 2-1 loss, yielding a run on seven hits over five innings of work.

“I actually felt pretty decent coming out of the bullpen with some of my pitches,” said Oswalt, who is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts this year. “I was able to throw two or three different pitches for strikes.”

The 33-year-old former Astros ace has plenty of experience facing the Rangers, going 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 starts against them. Oswalt is 11-9 with a 3.73 ERA in 28 interleague starts.

The Rangers went 14-4 versus the NL a season ago, while the Phillies were 10-8 in interleague play.

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Rangers Take On Former Ace Cliff Lee In Philadelphia

Saturday, May 21st (All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (23-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (27-17), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas – Colby Lewis (4-4, 3.81) Philadelphia – Cliff Lee (2-4, 3.84)

(Sports Network) – The Texas Rangers are finally playing in another game that Cliff Lee is starting. The only problem is that he is wearing a Philadelphia Phillies uniform.

Lee faces the Rangers for the first time since helping the club reach the World Series last year in the continuation of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Lee has been a man of many hats over the past few seasons. The former American League Cy Young Award winner was dealt by the Indians to the Phillies prior to the 2009 trade deadline and helped Philadelphia make it back to the World Series, where it lost to the Yankees.

The Phils then acquired Roy Halladay the following offseason, so they shipped Lee to Seattle to restock their farm system. The Mariners failed to compete, though, and dealt the Arkansas product to the Rangers before last season’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Lee went 4-6 with a 3.98 earned run average in 15 starts with the Rangers, who won the American League West for the first time since 1999, and with Lee’s help captured their first AL Pennant in team history before losing to the Giants in the World Series. The 31-year-old Lee went 3-2 in his five postseason starts with a 2.78 ERA, but lost both of his games in the World Series.

It was believed the pending free agent would either re-sign with the Rangers or join the Yankees, but the Phillies swooped in and signed him to a five- year, $125 million contract. Will that give Texas a little extra incentive to beat the southpaw tonight?

“You want to try to beat everyone, especially a guy that didn’t come back to your team,” Lee told the Phillies’ website. “I’m sure there’s some incentive for them to beat me. There should be. That’s the way it is. They try to win every game, and I’ve got to keep them from scoring.”

The left-hander takes the hill tonight looking for his first victory since April 14. He is 0-3 with a 3.66 ERA in six starts since and walked a career- high six batters in a loss to the Cardinals on Monday. He also gave up three runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings and was not a fan of home-plate umpire Gerry Davis’ strike zone.

“I felt like I threw a lot of strikes that were called balls, but whatever, it is what it is,” Lee said. “I’m the pitcher and he’s the umpire, and it’s his job to call balls and strikes, and he felt like they were balls, I guess.”

Lee, who had walked just seven batters in his first eight starts, is 2-4 with a 3.84 ERA this season and 6-3 with a 5.55 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Rangers.

Lee may need to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard tonight as the Phillies haven’t scored more than three runs in seven straight games. However, they did pick up their second victory in that span with last night’s 3-2 win behind homers from Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, as well as eight innings of two-run ball by Halladay.

Still, the Phillies got just enough to beat Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, who struck out 10 over seven innings but gave up both home run balls.

“[Wilson] made two pitches I know he’d like to take back,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Elvis Andrus scored a run when he stole home on a double steal in the first inning, but the Rangers still lost for the third time in four games and sit a half-game in front of the Angels for first place in the AL West.

The Rangers would love a repeat performance tonight from Colby Lewis, who hurled the first shutout of his career last time out. Lewis held the White Sox to just five hits and a walk, striking out seven in the 4-0 win, his second in a row and third in four starts. He has a 1.67 ERA in that span.

“The White Sox have a lot of talent up and down that lineup, so for Colby to come out in their ballpark and have that kind of effort was big for us,” said Rangers designated hitter Michael Young. “His last three or four starts have been fun to watch.”

The right-hander’s hot streak has evened his season record to 4-4 and lowered his ERA to a season-best 3.81.

The 31-year-old Lewis went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four interleague starts last year and faces the Phillies for the first time.

Texas took two of three from the Phillies in the last meeting between the teams in 2008, three years after the Phils swept a three-game home set over the Rangers.

The Rangers went 14-4 versus the NL a season ago, while the Phillies were 10-8 in interleague play.

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Halladay Leads Phillies Past Rangers

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Roy Halladay threw eight innings of two- run ball, and the Phillies’ offense produced home runs from Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez to down the Rangers, 3-2, in the opener of this interleague set.

The Phillies failed to score more than three runs for the seventh straight game, but nonetheless earned their second win over that span thanks in large part to their ace.

Halladay (6-3) scattered six hits and a walk while fanning seven before Ryan Madson closed out the victory in the ninth.

“It’s been a tough stretch,” Halladay said. “It was definitely a grind, but we did enough.”

C.J. Wilson (4-3) struck out 10 in his seven-inning start, taking the loss with three runs allowed on four hits and two walks.

Texas, coming off an extra-inning loss at Kansas City on Thursday, quickly took an early lead. Elvis Andrus opened the game with a single, raced to third on Mitch Moreland’s base hit through the right side, then executed a double steal, sliding in at home in front of Wilson Valdez’s throw from second.

Wilson set down the first five batters he faced — four via strikeout — before walking Ibanez on four pitches. He again fell behind to Francisco and served up a 3-1 changeup that was redirected into the seats in left-center.

Ibanez also went deep against Wilson in the fourth, becoming the first left- handed hitter to homer against the southpaw since Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo did so on June 3, 2008.

“[Wilson] made two pitches I know he’d like to take back,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “[The] changeup to Francisco got him right there after the walk to Ibanez, and the first-pitch fastball Ibanez got, he hit to the biggest part of the park. He earned that one.”

Halladay kept the Rangers quiet until Endy Chavez led off the eighth with a pinch-hit double down the right-field line, and consecutive groundouts, the latter from Moreland, cut the deficit 3-2.

With 116 pitches thrown, Halladay gave way to Madson in the ninth. The set-up man turned closer got two quick outs before David Murphy hit a comebacker that went off Madson’s throwing hand.

Murphy tried getting into scoring position with Taylor Teagarden at the plate, but Carlos Ruiz threw him out to seal the win and Madson’s eighth save.

Game Notes

On Saturday, the second game of this three-game series, Cliff Lee will pitch against the team he helped get to the 2010 World Series. The left-hander signed with the Phillies in the offseason and will face Colby Lewis…Before the game the Phillies placed center fielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Outfielder Domonic Brown was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill the roster spot…Halladay came in with a 5.36 career earned-run average vs. Texas…Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard went 0-for-3 and is 0-for-23 over his last seven games…The Rangers last visited Citizens Bank Park in 2008 and lost all three games.

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Rangers Vs. Phillies: Interleague Play Opens Up As Texas Heads To Philly

The Texas Rangers open up interleague play on Friday night as they head to Philadelphia to take on the reigning Cy Young winner Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies.

C.J. Wilson gets the start for the Rangers tonight - the first game in a National League stadium for the Rangers this year. Wilson has been good this year, pitching to the tune of a 4-2 record with a 3.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in 61.1 innings of work. Ever since his 12 strikeout complete game against Seattle on May 4, Wilson has walked more batters than he has struck out (nine walks to four strikeouts), spanning two starts. Wilson will have to be more efficient on Friday against Halladay.

Halladay, of course, is Roy Halladay. There's not much to be said on him. Though he has only a 5-3 record, Halladay has been excellent this year, with a 2.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 73 strikeouts against just 11 walks. Further, Halladay has four complete games in nine starts this year and is poised to make a run at his second consecutive Cy Young award.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, 6:05 CDT.

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