2/24/2013 6:32 P.M. ET
Harrison battles command in windy conditions
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals starter Luis Mendoza, at this point of the spring, is far ahead of Rangers 18-game winner Matt Harrison. He should be.
Mendoza pitched for Mexico in the Caribbean World Series and is preparing for the World Baseball Classic, while Harrison is just getting started.
So it's not surprising that Mendoza was able to hold the Rangers to one run in four innings. Harrison was the reverse, giving up four runs in one inning as the Royals defeated the Rangers, 6-5, on Sunday at Surprise Stadium.
Harrison, pitching on a raw spring afternoon, allowed six hits to nine batters while throwing 40 pitches. Game-time temperature was 56 degrees, with 20-30 mph winds blowing in hard from left field.
"It definitely wasn't ideal conditions but I've pitched in worse," Harrison said. "You can't let it affect you. I couldn't put guys away or make pitches when I had to. It seemed like every time I got ahead I would let a guy get back in the at-bat. I was having trouble making quality pitches down in the zone."
Mendoza threw 65 pitches, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out two. He was primed by a 107-pitch performance in the Caribbean Series, where he was the Most Valuable Player for the champion Mexico team.
"I'm coming from winter ball and it feels good," Mendoza said. "The wind was so bad but I just tried to let the sinker move by itself. I tried to throw in the middle and get ground balls."
Royals catcher Salvador Perez had three singles and right fielder Jeff Francoeur had a triple and a single in three at-bats. Rangers second baseman Leury Garcia was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run while center fielder Leonys Martin added two hits.
Up next: Left-hander Martin Perez and right-hander Justin Grimm are scheduled to pitch for the Rangers against the Rockies at 2:10 p.m. CT Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Perez and Grimm are bother competing for the fifth starter spot and are expected to throw two innings each. Perez gets the start.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.