3/2/2013 6:50 P.M. ET
Harrison, Berkman make strides against D-backs
By William Boor / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It is extremely unlikely Lance Berkman will bat leadoff when the Rangers begin the 2013 season on the road against the Astros, but it's working in Spring Training.
Prior to Saturday's 7-1 victory over the D-backs, Berkman joked that the Rangers were undefeated when he was leading off. Texas is now 2-0 in that situation.
Berkman did lead off the game with a walk -- eventually scoring on Nelson Cruz's RBI single -- but strong pitching and fundamental hitting were key for the Rangers on Saturday.
"We did some good things offensively, we did some good things defensively and we really did some good things on the mound," manager Ron Washington said.
Matt Harrison, who was roughed up in his first Spring Training start, turned in a strong performance. The left-hander scattered three hits over three scoreless innings.
Keeping the ball down "was a big part of it, especially coming off of my last start where I was getting beat up in the zone," Harrison said. "I tried to get the ball back on the ground, which I was able to do today more consistently."
In his first start of the spring, Harrison allowed four earned runs in one inning. Although it is still very early in camp, Harrison was pleased with his ability to rebound after a poor outing.
"Anytime you have a bad game you definitely want to bounce back as quick as possible, and I was able to do that in my next start," Harrison said. "That's a positive note and that's something I can build on going into my next start."
When Harrison's three innings were in the books, Jason Frasor made his Texas debut. The reliever, who signed a one-year contract as a free agent during the offseason, allowed two hits in his scoreless inning.
For the D-backs, Wade Miley made his first Spring Training appearance. The 2012 National League Rookie of the Year runner-up allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in two innings.
Miley gave up two runs in the first inning, then gave up a long home run to Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry before finishing his afternoon with three consecutive outs.
The home run, which cleared the 390-foot sign in left field, was not the only highlight of the day for Gentry. He finished the day 1-for-1, drew two walks, stole two bases and scored three runs.
"That's my game that I'm going to go out there and try to work on," Gentry said of the stolen base. "I got to get on base and try to get to the next base. It's a goal of mine during Spring Training ... stealing bases."
Right-hander Randall Delgado, competing for the fifth spot in the D-backs' rotation, gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in his two innings.
Up next for Rangers: Joe Nathan will make his Spring Training debut against Seattle as the Rangers return to Surprise Stadium on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Nathan was not injured but has yet to pitch in a game because of the elongated Spring Training this year due to the return of the World Baseball Classic. Engel Beltre is also scheduled to play after successful workouts Friday and Saturday.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.