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Harrison, bullpen help Rangers solve Rockies

Lefty, four relievers nab Texas' seventh shutout; Fielder goes yard

ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor said it was nothing more than a routine play.

"We practice it every day," Odor said.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor said it was nothing more than a routine play.

"We practice it every day," Odor said.

View Full Game Coverage

Manager Ron Washington agreed, saying it was a play that every Major Leaguer should make. That includes a 20-year-old kid who had just been called up from Double-A Frisco, only to have the ball find him for the first time with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning.

Odor fielded the ball flawlessly and started the inning-ending double play, the first sign that Thursday night might be different for the Rangers than the previous three against the hottest team in baseball. That proved to be the case because of their gritty mound work as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory over the Rockies.

"It was a huge team win for us," Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said after earning his first victory since Sept. 27, 2012.

"Harrison was out there fighting and when that happens, you want to play great defense," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "The thing was we came out with a lot of energy tonight. That's the way we should always play."

Rangers pitchers had allowed 29 runs in 25 in three games against the Rockies before Harrison and four relievers combined for their seventh shutout of the season. It's the first time the Rockies have been held scoreless this season.

Harrison and relievers Nick Martinez, Aaron Poreda, Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria allowed five hits and walked four. They also held the Rockies to an 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position after they had gone 21-for-48 (.438) in the first three games against the Rangers.

"Our pitching was very good," Washington said. "That's what they've been giving us; we just hit a bad stretch. But tonight Harrison stepped up and did a great job and the bullpen did the rest. We did everything: played defense, ran the bases, hit and pitched well."

The double play was the first of several pivotal moments of the game. The Rangers had trailed the Rockies at the end of 26 consecutive innings before Harrison and Colorado starter Franklin Morales both pitched a scoreless first. The double play in the second kept the Rockies from jumping off to still another lead.

"A big double play," Harrison said. "The defense was great out there. Then we got some runs on the board and some shutdown innings. You could see momentum and a big swing of confidence go to our side as the game progressed. They have been swinging the bats well the past three days and didn't miss many mistakes. But I was able to make my pitches and when I did make a mistake, they hit it hard at someone."

The Rangers then took the lead in the bottom of the second as Alex Rios led off with a double and scored on a single by Leonys Martin, who was hitting in the sixth spot in the order for the first time this season. It was the Rangers' first lead since Sunday's win over the Angels.

With Andrus at the plate, Martin went to second on a balk. After the count went to 1-2, Martin then broke for the third as Andrus struck out. Martin made it easily and ended up scoring as the throw from catcher Michael McKenry ended up in left field.

But there were still a couple of other pivotal moments, including after Harrison left with a 2-0 lead with one on and one out in the sixth. Martinez took over and showed why he is earning an integral spot on the Rangers staff.

Martinez struck out Drew Stubbs. Brandon Barnes then doubled down the right-field line, putting runners at second and third. But Martinez came back to strike out Jordan Pacheco on a full-count slider to end the inning.

"Runners in scoring position, you've got to execute your pitches," Martinez said. "You can't give in and just throw a 3-2 fastball."

Prince Fielder then gave the Rangers a three-run lead in the bottom of the sixth with his third home run of the season. It was also his first since April 19.

Martinez went back out for the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to McKenry. DJ LeMahieu's fly ball moved him to third and Poreda took over for a lefty vs. lefty matchup against Charlie Blackmon.

Blackmon hit a routine fly to to right and McKenry tried to score. But Rios made a strong, accurate throw to the plate and catcher Robinson Chirinos got the tag down on McKenry as he reached out with his left arm to get the plate. Home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger called McKenry out and the call was confirmed after review.

"I knew from the beginning I had him beat to home plate," Chirinos said. "I know I tagged him before he touched the plate. It was a close play but we got the out."

A leadoff double by Chirinos and an RBI single by Michael Choice helped the Rangers score two more in the bottom of the seventh. Frasor and Soria combined to retire the last six hitters, including four by strikeout.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.

Texas Rangers, Prince Fielder, Matt Harrison, Leonys Martin, Alex Rios